As the festive season approaches, the call-out for community help increases.
This is not a situation unique to the Comox Valley. It is the same in every community, every town, and every city across our great country and beyond.
My journalism career has afforded me the opportunity to live in many such communities in the past 20-plus years, and while every community I have called home has risen to the occasion, the Comox Valley stands out.
The philanthropy exhibited in the Comox Valley is like nowhere else I have lived – and it’s not just at Christmastime.
The support people give throughout the year to such worthwhile initiatives as You Are Not Alone, WeCan Shelter Society, Habitat for Humanity, the Comox Valley Food Bank, and others is remarkable. The annual Comox Valley Children’s Development Association Telethon brings the community together, not only with financial support, but also to put the event together every year. Hundreds of people take time from their busy schedules to help out, either by answering phones, producing the event, or performing.
And now we have the festive season approaching – ironically, the hardest time of the year for many in every community.
There are many additional causes that rely so heavily on the generosity of others at this time of year, and this year will be considerably more challenging. The ever-increasing cost of living – housing, skyrocketing food costs, fuel costs, etc. – has put a strain on budgets unlike anything we have seen in recent history, if ever before.
And yet, my phone is ringing every day, with people asking how they can help such local grassroots efforts as the Santa’s Workshop, Everybody Deserves a Smile, the Royal Lepage Christmas Hamper program, and other local initiatives.
Here is a list with some contact numbers.
Santa’s Workshop is now open for the season, and is accepting donations of new and gently used toys, bikes and other items for children from newborns to 15 years of age. Donations are being accepted at the workshop, at Unit 3, 3080 Kilpatrick Avenue (Newport Village building), and ‘shopping’ appointments for parents in need are being accepted now by calling 250-897-0098 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The Everybody Deserves A smile campaign is underway again this year. The project involves students from throughout the Comox Valley creating and packaging ‘bags of hope’ for the homeless. Each bag contains winter clothing essentials (toques, woolen/heavy socks, mitts/gloves, and scarves), as well as toiletries. The goal this year is to distribute more than 1,300 such packages to homeless people throughout the Island and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to get involved.
The Sharing the Christmas Spirit Christmas Hamper Program is in full swing. To register for a hamper, or for more information on how your family or business can support the program by filling a hamper, call Annette Bowden at Royal Lepage, 250-334-4913, or 250-334-3124.
Comox Valley Dodge is once again holding its Christmas Toy Drive. Email email@example.com or call 250-338-5451 for more info.
And on Christmas Day, the Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner will supply turkey dinners with all the extras to more than 700 people in the Valley. For more information on how to help that cause, email firstname.lastname@example.org
It always seems that by the time the Christmas season comes around, I leave myself wondering whether this will be the year that donor fatigue will affect the seasonal initiative. And every year, the people of the Comox Valley answer with an emphatic “No. Not this year.”
Please do your part, if you are able, to ensure that tradition continues in 2022.
Terry Farrell is the editor at the Comox Valley Record.