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Christmas Fund passes $500,000, but we're not finished yet

xmas fund dec 20
Donate to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund at timescolonist.com/donate.

It’s a busy time of the year for just about everyone, so thank you for spending a couple of minutes reading this.

It would have been easy to simply pass this column by, the same way that it can be easy to walk past the people who need a helping hand, a bit of good cheer, or shelter from the storm.

So far this year, the Times Colonist Christmas Fund has raised more than half a million dollars, money that will be put to use throughout our coverage area. But we are not finished yet.

The Christmas Fund is a vital part of the newspaper’s commitment to community service. We are here to help you help others. We ensure that your donations are put to the best use possible.

The Christmas Fund was launched in 1956 as the 500 Fund, with a goal of helping the 500 neediest families in Greater Victoria. We changed the name as the number of recipients grew and grew.

Then, after many years of dealing directly with those recipients, we decided to work with organizations that offer aid year-round. In short, they have a better idea than we do of who is most in need, and they can make the money stretch further.

Our goal is to help as many people as possible, through established service agencies that already have support systems in place. Assistance from the non-profit Times Colonist Christmas Society reaches just about every corner of the Island.

Donations go to organizations that help the homeless, and the housed but needy, and people dealing with short-term issues that could derail their lives in the long term if not for a small financial safety net.

Your donations might be used to ensure that children get toys for Christmas, or to bring a bit of light to women whose lives have been darkened by abusive relationships. We also provide money to a dozen food banks.

Ultimately, the money is put to work helping people — and those people all have one thing in common: They are your neighbours, and might even be your friends. It’s our hope that your contributions will help keep them fed not just at Christmas, but at times when the need might not be top-of-mind.

It’s affirming to see the donations come in, both from individuals and businesses. It’s no coincidence that so many small, locally owned businesses support the Christmas Fund. It’s a sign of connectivity to the community, of a personal relationship with neighbours.

The Christmas season is a time to help those neighbours.

Your donation does not need to be huge, because every little bit helps. You can make a difference.

Thank you.

HOW TO DONATE

• Go to our fundraising page at timescolonist.com/donate; that takes you to the Canada Helps website, which is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

• Mail a cheque to Times ­Colonist Christmas Fund, 201‑655 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

• Use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist