Toys for Tots Information

Phones are open now for this great community resource, all of the most up-to-date information can be found at: Tots for Tots Website

Happy Holidays!


Holidays stress out low-income parents, but poverty is year-round

U-M researchers say that while the holidays tend to be more stressful for low-income parents as children ask for expensive toys, people who donate to charities need to recognize that poverty is not seasonal.

“We generally think of the holidays as a time for giving and make our donations out of empathy,” says Michael S. Spencer, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. “For many working families in poverty, the feeling of not being able to adequately provide for their children is year-long.”

Long-term poverty can affect a child’s developmental outcome, such as emotional and behavioral problems, and academic success, he says.

“If we can take the focus off of expensive gifts at this time of year and reflect year-round about the circumstances that create and sustain poverty, we’ll be able to help many people in a meaningful way,” Spencer says.

During the last five years, Carol T. Mowbray, a professor in the School of Social Work, has conducted a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study of southeast Michigan mothers with serious mental illnesses. Nearly all were very pooroften due to the expenses and disability associated with their mental illnessesand found it difficult to meet their children’s needs.

In a random sample of 35 women diagnosed with depression, they were asked: “What would you say are the disadvantages of having children and being a mother?” More than 25 percent talked about their inability to buy things their children wanted. Some of the responses:

“Not having enough money to keep them dressed well…this winter, my daughter had to use my gloves and my hat.”

“Expenses. As they get older, the things they want are more expensive. I don’t want to let them down. I don’t want them to feel like they never got what they want.”

“Sometimes you can’t give them what they want; you always want your kids to have the best.”

While the need is year-round, donating during the holidays is a good start. Indeed, giving to others can be a positive experience for families that have the means to do so, Mowbray says.

“Children see their parents as role models and, from their actions, can become more empathic and understanding to others, and more prone to charitable giving when they become adults,” Mowbray says.

The University Record Online (University of Michigan)


‘Tis the Season for the Christmas Bureau

Cmas Bureau logo(1)


What is Christmas Bureau?

It is an incredible annual holiday assistance program coordinated by Catholic Charities Spokane, Volunteers of America, and The Spokesman-Review.  This amazing program – made possible with generous monetary funds and many volunteer hours donated by community members and organizations –  provides toys, books, and grocery store vouchers for thousands of low income individuals and families.

To be a RECIPIENT at the 2014 Christmas Bureau

** Come in person to the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center on any one of the event dates Dec. 10-19 (excluding Sunday) 10 am – 2:30 pm. There is no sign up ahead of time.

** Adults (18 years and older) must show picture ID and one other current document with current address (such as latest utility bill, phone bill or rent receipt).

** Each household will receive a grocery store gift certificate. The amount depends on size of family and ranges from $15 – $30.

** To receive books and toys, parent(s) must show that the children live with them. Bring a letter or document from school, daycare, DSHS, or other agency to verify each child’s name, age (or date of birth), and physical address. A WIC folder (with current WIC checks enclosed showing the child’s name) is acceptable for participants in that program.

When and where is the 2014 Christmas Bureau?

December 10 – 19 (excluding Sunday), 10am – 2:30pm
Spokane County Fair & Expo Center, 404 N. Havana, Spokane, WA

2013 Christmas Bureau Stats

  • $582, 402 ~ Donations by individuals and businesses – an all-time high!
  • 9,218 ~ Households received grocery store gift certificates
  • 15,266 ~ Children received books and toys
  • 30,091 ~ Total individuals were served
  • 517 ~ Volunteers donated their time to staff the 9-day event

2014 Thanksgiving Assistance List

Give Thanks FinishedEach year, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. Most families follow traditions begun on the first Thanksgiving, but many have their own traditions that they follow each year.  Reach out and touch those who need you most this Thanksgiving.

Below is the official 2014 Thanksgiving Assistance List. Please share this list for those who are in need.