Open your hearts, Victoria. Many people are in need in Greater Victoria and this is a good time to help. As the days count down toward Christmas, the Times Colonist Christmas Fund is getting ready to hand out food vouchers and certificates for children's gifts. Already, 2,400 applications have flooded in, representing more than 4,500 people.
Since 1956, the fund has helped Victorians reach out to their neighbours and make Christmas a little brighter. Last year, donations reached $284,553.13, a record.
So far this year, donations are down about 25 per cent from this time last year. Perhaps potential donors are feeling uncertain about the economic climate or unsure about their own jobs. Those are real concerns, but when times are tough on those who have jobs, imagine how hard they are on those without.
Imagine faces and names for those 4,500 people.
Every day in December, the Times Colonist tries to put faces and names to the cold numbers, through stories about the people who have asked the Christmas Fund for help. For those people, life is a struggle every day of the year, but a gift from a stranger can be especially welcome at this time of year.
They are people like Helen Davies, a single mom with two sons who is working part-time while she goes to school to become a registered nurse. She will have little money to make Christmas special for the boys, but she is determined to pursue the career she loves.
"You feel like you're making a difference," she told a Times Colonist reporter.
You can feel that way, too, by donating to the Christmas Fund this year. To donate, go online to timescolonist.com, call 250-995-4438, or mail or drop off your donation at the Times Colonist, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, V8W 2N4.
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