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Times Colonist Christmas Fund passes $750,000 mark

Music group raises money for charity.
Six musicians raising money for charity. From left to right: guitar, Bill Stamps; tenor sax, Don Hauser; tenor sax Brian McLagan; alto sax, John Grindley; alto sax, Peter Gardner; baritone sax, Kryn Zedel. Circa 2009

Many thanks to the 2,866 people who have donated to this year’s Times Colonist Christmas Fund campaign. I wish I could thank every one of you for your commitment to making life better for everyone in our community.

Your donations total $758,888.25. That is a significant amount, and the Christmas Fund Society, a registered charity, will put it to work as efficiently as possible.

We are continuing to collect money for this year’s campaign. While the fund total will go higher, it’s quite unlikely that we will reach our $1-million goal for this campaign.

As we have said before, the need this year is high, perhaps higher than ever before in the history of this fund.

We are hoping for a few last-minute boosts — and we got one from longtime regular donor Andrew Beckerman, who has offered an additional $500 as a challenge in the hope of getting us closer to our goal.

The donations, large and small, all make a difference. Some people have found creative ways to raise money to help others so they don’t have to go without.

Last week, I wrote about Don Hauser, who raised $193.35 for the fund by busking with his digital saxophone for 90 minutes in Sidney. There is more to the story.

For about four decades, Hauser has been part of a small group of musicians known today as Santa’s Saxes. Over the years, they have raised more than $10,000 for the fund, and they are still going strong.

The group got its start in the early 1980s as a group of five clarinet players — Hauser, Kryn Zedel, Kryn’s father Leo Zedel, Rod McCrimmon and Tony Farrington. All were Times Colonist employees, and they played Christmas carols in the office during their lunch break on Christmas Eve.

After a few years they branched out to include pub crawls, with the hope of receiving free refreshments. About 25 years ago, Hauser and Kryn Zedel formed what became known as Santa’s Saxes, which evolved into a saxophone quintet with a guitarist as well.

Santa’s Saxes play Christmas carols at seniors’ homes around Greater Victoria during December, asking for a donation from the house, which they pass on to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. The group members cover all the costs, with a goal that Hauser describes as “hoping to bring some joy to those they play for.”

The joy extends beyond their audiences, because the money they raise goes to helping people in need throughout the area.

We use the money we collect to support organizations that help to feed and support people in need, especially at Christmas but as needed during the rest of the year. Food is a high priority for us this year, given the sharp increases in costs in recent months.

There is still time to take part in the 2022 campaign, which was started on Nov. 12 and will wrap up — officially, at least — on Saturday, the end of the year.

How can you give to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund?

• Donate online. Go to ­, which is open 24 hours a day and ­provides an immediate tax receipt.

• Donate by mail. Send a cheque to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.

• Donate by phone. Use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today through Friday. (If you call outside those hours, leave a message and we will get back to you.)

Thanks again!

Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist.

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