At a time when the local economy is booming and employers cannot fill their vacant jobs, it might be hard to believe that anyone on Vancouver Island needs a helping hand.
But ask a single mother who has escaped a bad relationship, a person blindsided by a sudden health crisis, or anyone in the grips of crisis. They will tell you that need is always with us, and help will always be appreciated.
That is why the Times Colonist is once again offering a way for readers to give back to the community, through our annual Christmas Fund.
Since 1956, this newspaper has been collecting money to benefit the less fortunate.
We have raised and distributed millions of dollars over the years, and the success of the annual campaign is a direct result of the community’s generosity. That means you.
Sixty-two years ago, the Daily Colonist made a commitment, with what was then called the 500 Fund, to help the 500 neediest families in the area. Over time, the community’s needs multiplied, so we expanded the fund to offer help to more people. It became known as the Thousand Fund, and then the Christmas Fund.
We have started accepting donations for the 2018 season. We will work again this year with the Salvation Army and the Mustard Seed Street Church, which handle the distribution of hampers and gift certificates to those in need.
Our support makes possible the Mustard Seed’s annual Christmas dinner at the Bay Street Armoury. It will provide a warm meal to more than 1,000 people tonight, and take it from me: The dinner is one of the highlights of the season. When we see the joy in the eyes of people who are getting what the rest of us take for granted, it warms the heart.
We are also providing financial help to Our Place.
All of these organizations have a shared goal of giving as many people as possible a better Christmas season.
Last year, the Times Colonist distributed almost $318,000. We aim to beat that total this year.
Giving does not just help the recipients, of course; those who give gain as much, because that is the way generosity works.
So remember: Some of our neighbours need a helping hand this Christmas — a helping hand from those of us who have the ability to make this a more festive season for all.
The Christmas Fund is all about the compassion of the season: It is a time to help those who need it. Your donation does not need to be big, because every little bit helps. You can make a difference in the lives of others.
How to donate
• Go to our Canada Helps page, which is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.
• Mail a cheque, payable to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund Society, to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria V8T 4M2.
• 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.