The “spirit of the season” is an amazing phenomenon.
Oh yes, it does exist.
Regardless of our religious beliefs, one thing is clear: at this time of year, our concern for those less fortunate increases, dramatically.
People become more charitable around the Christmas season.
Some will say it’s the work of a greater power. Others will say it’s been instilled in us by our parents, peers or guardians. Others, still, will claim that the charities just make themselves more visible at this time of year.
For whatever reason, we, as a society, pick November and December to explore our philanthropic selves — and we all feel better for it.
Many organizations that run on skeleton crews throughout the year find themselves with an overabundance of volunteers at Christmas-time.
In Canada, we are fortunate that the biggest concern for the majority of us at this time of year is making sure we don’t over-spend on Christmas gift-buying.
That said, for those without, the thought of how any presents whatsoever are going to find their way under a tree is enough to cause anxiety issues.
But there are numerous ways we can help, and Comox Valley residents always do. Santa’s Workshop is in full swing, collecting, repairing, and preparing new and gently-used toys for children of all ages. The workshop is located at 331 Fourth St., Courtenay this year, and there are drop boxes in businesses throughout the area (see bit.ly/1xL6DJf for a location near you).
There is also the Secret Santa program, now in its 14th year.
Secret Santa “wish tags”, with the Christmas wishes of children in our community, are available at numerous businesses around the community, including the Comox Valley Record office (call 250-703-0858 for other tag locations). Each tag has an ID number and a couple of gift ideas. You simply pick up a tag, buy the gift, then drop both the tag and the gift off at First Insurance. The ID number is then matched to the child that requested the gift, and the present is delivered prior to Christmas.
If you aren’t in a position to purchase something, perhaps you can donate something that would be of use to another family.
Many families will be relying on thrift stores, such as Salvation Army and Too Good To Be Threw for their Christmas shopping. Donating to stores such as those will not only help the shopping needs of the less fortunate, but will also supply an infusion of cash into programs for the community’s disadvantaged.
The Everyone Deserves a Smile project, which supplies basic hygienic and outdoor living needs for the homeless and needy, also requires our help with supplies, and there’s an easy way to contribute there. Just bring your bottles and cans to the Courtenay and Comox Return-It, and request that the money go to EDAS.
And there are also the day-to-day needs of the likes of the Comox Valley Food Bank.
As is always the case, residents of the Comox Valley, and every other community in this great country, will come to the aid of those less fortunate this Christmas season.
The only shame is that, for many of us, that spirit only comes around at this time of the year. Imagine the good we could do if we treated each other this way every day.
Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record