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Dave Obee: Norman Spector’s challenge pushes fund toward new goal of $1 million

Norman Spector’s generosity has paid off, giving the Times Colonist Christmas Fund an extra push as we head toward our new goal of $1 million by the end of the year.

christmas fundNorman Spector’s generosity has paid off, giving the Times Colonist Christmas Fund an extra push as we head toward our new goal of $1 million by the end of the year.

Spector donated $500 early in this fund drive — but last week, he promised that he would match donations of $500 or more made by current or retired ­public ­servants, to a maximum of $10,000.

Well, donations from 19 people came in, and some were for more than $500, pushing the match total to $10,200. That meant $20,400 more for the fund.

The fund total reached $776,000 on Friday afternoon, and we are trying to put that money to work as quickly as we can.

This week, we handed a quarter of a million dollars to groups that help those in need. Jack Knox helped deliver the cheques, and in Sunday’s Times Colonist he will report on what it’s like out there right now.

Who made the donations to match Spector? Glad you asked. They were Kevin and Ruth Gillese, Cara McGregor, Gayle Good, Lorna Stewart, Graeme McLaren, Andrea Miller, David Zussman, Patricia Ruth, Emilie Hillier, Barbara West in honour of Gary West, Dennis Flewelling, Michael McEvoy, Jean-François Prieur, Mark Ismay, Bruce Waring, Chris Trumpy, and Lyle and Dyan Sorsdahl in honour of Dave Sorsdahl.

That $10,200 is above the maximum set by Spector, a former deputy minister in B.C. and Ottawa, ambassador, and newspaper publisher. No problem. He has matched the extra $200 as well as the $10,000.

The money being raised will be used to make lives a bit brighter during these tough times. Some of the money will be used in this holiday season, and some will be used in ­January and February. That is why we are pushing back the closing date of the fund; we see a continuing need and we want to be able to meet it.

It’s nice, of course, to make sure people are fed at ­Christmas, and to make sure children see reasons to celebrate. But the pandemic has created a huge gap in our social fabric, and we must think about what will happen in the weeks ahead. Our entire ­community should consider why it is so important to help those who have been dealt a harsh blow by 2020.

So the fundraising continues, and yes, we appreciate all that you are doing to help. Thank you.

We will publish another list of donor names in Wednesday’s Times Colonist. On that list you might see Elizabeth, who wants to keep her last name confidential. She called in on Friday to donate $5,000 to those in need.

You might also see Greg Young, who called to donate $1,500. If someone else will match his gift, he will donate another $1,500.

Matches such as those from Spector and Young have made a huge difference this year, because each one has given the fund an extra kick. It’s good to know that you can effectively double your money with the click of a mouse.

Andrew Beckerman has already made seven $500 match challenges, and he is back with his eighth. If we get four donations of $500 or more from people who consider themselves to be new to Victoria, Beckerman will give another $500.

Millstream Self Storage donated $1,000 and wants other storage facilities to match it.

(A side note: When you make a matching donation, be sure to let us know who you are matching!)

Some other challenges are still open. Estevan Pharmacy has donated $500 and is challenging other community pharmacies in Victoria. A physician who wishes to remain anonymous has given $500, and wants other physicians to match it.

And don’t forget that your empties can help raise money when you take them for recycling.

Together, we are making a difference, and we will not rest until we can raise more money and help more people.

We are $224,000 away from a million. We have 12 days. We can do it.

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Donate online at ­­ That will take you to the Canada Helps website, which is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.

Or 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.

Donate refundable cans and bottles at Bottle Depot and GFL Environmental depots.