The Times Colonist Christmas Fund raised $80,700 in the first 10 days of the 2021 campaign – not bad considering the flooding, road closures and overall mayhem during those days.
Yes, that amount is well short of the $143,000 we raised in the same period last year, but that’s OK. We have plenty of time to catch up, especially if Mother Nature co-operates with us.
Besides, Andrew Beckerman, a frequent donor to our charities, has stepped up with the first match challenge of the year, and it’s a big one.
The fund was launched 65 years ago, and in recognition of that, Beckerman is putting up $6,500 in one bold challenge. In previous years, he has offered a series of challenges, but this anniversary year is different.
Any takers? Or, more accurately, any givers?
In 2020, generous Times Colonist readers donated an astounding $1.24 million, more than three times as much as in any other year. It would be wonderful to approach that number again, even though we know it will not be easy to do.
There was a strong spirit of giving and of helping each other last year. It feels different this time, perhaps because of COVID fatigue, or perhaps we are being worn down by all the other challenges that have been thrown our way.
Other organizations devoted to helping those in need are reporting that donations are down.
But the need is strong, stronger than ever. We cannot give up when so many lives have been shattered, when so many families are suffering, when so many children are doing without.
The money we raise is put to work in the community.
Recipients this year have included the Salvation Army, which is our biggest recipient, as well as the Mustard Seed Street Church, Our Place, the Victoria Women’s Transition House, Nourish Cowichan and the 1 UP Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre.
During the Christmas season last year, we put your donations to work at 20 organizations in Greater Victoria, the Gulf Islands and as far north as Campbell River.
They need our help again this year.
While most of the money is used to provide food, we also try to bring comfort and security to those less fortunate.
In our community, from Oak Bay to Campbell River and beyond, there are pandemic- battered people who never dreamed they would need the help of the Times Colonist Christmas Fund. At one time, they would donate. Now, they need help, and are glad that the fund is here.
This is the 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 timescolonist.com/donate.
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.
Dave Obee is editor and publisher of the Times Colonist.