Getting It Done

A Woman Who Made Things Happen

By Kerri Hanley McIntosh

If you find anything, can you let these people know, too?” asked the person behind the counter of the Health and Welfare Department’s office in Coeur d’Alene.

She handed a thick pile of forms to my mother, Mae Hanley. The forms were requests from the poor for Christmas donations, and on this fall day in the late-1970s, no help was available. A friend of my mother, whose family was in need of assistance and couldn’t find any, had asked her to see what she could discover. Mom, who was always there for her friends, contacted Toys For Tots, which put bins in all the stores, but it turned out that northern Idaho donations were being sent to Spokane. As she accepted the forms from the Health and Welfare clerk, she turned to look in the eyes of my dad, Larry. He knew that look all too well. If something wasn’t working, she would make it happen—not just for our family friend but for every person on those sheets of paper in her hand. Her goal was reflected in the name she chose for the new charity she started: Christmas for All.

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