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Dave Obee: Christmas Fund is about your neighbours

The total in your Times Colonist Christmas Fund reached $537,000 on Monday, an amazing achievement in less than a month. But let’s not forget – this is not about money, or numbers. It is about people, the less fortunate ones in our community.
Times Colonist Christmas Fund logo

The total in your Times Colonist Christmas Fund reached $537,000 on Monday, an amazing achievement in less than a month. But let’s not forget – this is not about money, or numbers. It is about people, the less fortunate ones in our community.

There are many vulnerable people who don’t have roofs over their heads. They might not have had regular paycheques even in normal times, and the pandemic has only made their lives worse.

COVID-19 has had a severe social and economic impact, with many more people needing help from social agencies. The people at the low end of the income scale will generally suffer the most when the economy turns down, and this year’s downturn has been deeper than most of us have ever seen.

These people need your help. They might need food or shelter. Your actions could mean the difference between life and death for some of your neighbours.

When the old Daily Colonist created the 500 Fund in 1956, the goal was to make Christmas a bit better for the less well-off. Through the years, through the decades, that has remained the goal of this seasonal campaign.

But this year is different, as I have said several times in this space. This year, we are seeing an unprecedented level of need, and of suffering. The Christmas Fund must provide more help than ever before, because many people need much more than just one nice meal in December.

They need a strong helping hand. They need their dignity restored. They need hope.

Many people, all over Vancouver Island, are dealing with additional stress because their income has been reduced, or they have been unable to see their loved ones, or they fear that they might have been exposed to the disease. Their mental health issues are mounting by the day.

It might seem that there are high priorities and insurmountable obstacles on all sides, and we need to help people keep the faith that they will make it through this.

There is a role for anyone can make a financial contribution. That is why we are continuing this campaign. Our goal is $700,000, but we could use much more than that. The need is high, higher than ever before.

The Times Colonist Christmas Fund has already given to the Salvation Army and the Mustard Seed Street Church, two organizations with proven records of helping people in need. This week, we will announce more recipients. As more money comes in, we will be able to help even more people.

We’ve had a couple of $20,000 donations, but contributions of any size will make a difference. (Got recyclable cans or bottles? Put them in the charity bins at the three Bottle Depot locations in Victoria and Saanich, and the money raised will make it to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund and CFAX Santas Anonymous.)

If you want to make an online donation, go to timescolonist.com/donate. That will take you to the Canada Helps website, which is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

You could also mail a cheque, payable to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund Society, to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, Victoria V9A 6X5.

Or use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Outside those hours, messages will be accepted.

dobee@timescolonist.com

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