It’s the most wonderful time of the year — the season of giving, when you can help your friends and neighbours, thanks to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund.
There is great need in our community this year. Food and gas prices have soared. Rents are high, if you can even find a place to stay. Overall, inflation and the fear of recession are putting a damper on the season.
That’s why we need to make a special effort to raise money this year, and the need for food security is at the top of the list of priorities. Our goal is to raise $1 million this year. That is slightly more than the $958,900 we raised in 2021, but below the $1.24-million total of 2020.
The fund was started in 1956, which means this is one of the oldest Christmas-related charity efforts in British Columbia. The fund’s goal was to help the 500 neediest families in Victoria.
Even the youngest members of those families would be in their late 60s now. And that raises a question: Does anyone remember what it was like to benefit from the fund in its earliest years?
If you were touched by the fund and have a story to tell, please send an email to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). We would love to hear from you, and to share your story with our readers.
For many years, the Christmas fund helped thousands of people on an individual basis. Since 2014, we have worked directly with partners such as the Mustard Seed Street Church and the Salvation Army, which have more experience in the efficient distribution of food and help.
In the pandemic year of 2020, we extended our reach even more, contributing to food banks throughout the Island as well as to organizations such as the Victoria Women’s Transition House.
In March this year we made a special $100,000 gift to help refugees from war-shattered Ukraine.
For the past couple of years, we have been helping about two dozen organizations in Greater Victoria, on the Island as far north as Campbell River, and the Gulf Islands. Most of the money is used to provide food, although the Christmas Fund donations also mean gifts under the tree for children who would otherwise go without.
Given the pressures that so many families are facing this year, we would love to have $1 million to distribute — and with your help, we can do it.
It’s all about the real meaning of the Christmas season: It is a time to help those less fortunate. Your donation does not need to be huge, because every little bit helps.
You can make a difference.
You can donate by going to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund fundraising page at canadahelps.org/en/dn/14772.
The site is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.
Or mail a cheque to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 201-655 Tyee Road, Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5.
You can also use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Despite all the negative forces, together we can make this the best possible festive season.
Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist.