The trees have been trimmed and the lights are shining bright. Wreaths hang on doors and the smell of Christmas baking fills the air, along with a comfortable nostalgia for tradition and Christmas past.
The excitement of Christmas has the kids wriggling and wideeyed, and the adults have caught their thrilling anticipation. For most of us, at least. For some, it’s not at all clear yet whether there will be much of a Merry Christmas at all.
For the 44 families on the
Christmas hamper list at Cowichan Neighbourhood House in Chemainus who still have not been sponsored, there may not be anything to unwrap this holiday season.
This close to the big day, and some parents are having to prepare their kids that Santa might not visit them this year, even though that’s all their friends can talk about.
And don’t forget the adults, who struggle throughout the year, and just want a little something to brighten their Christmas.
A gift with an approximate value of $20 is not a lot to ask. But it’s out of reach for a staggering number of people in our Valley.
Last year Neighbourhood House gave out about 120 hampers, and the numbers are about the same this year. That’s a high level of need for such a small area.
And there are other organizations that hand out hampers as well, so that’s not even close to the Valley’s full tally of those who need help to have a Merry Christmas in 2014.
These are folks who walk by us and work beside us every day – you may even know some of them, though you likely don’t realize they are so close to poverty.
Many more are only one pay cheque or one lost job or one medical problem from it. Buying a few Christmas gifts or donating a little money for Neighbourhood House volunteers to buy gifts will not solve all of the recipients’ problems.
But what it does do is show them that someone cares. Especially at this time of year that’s important. It can be the boost they need for a happier New Year with a fresh start.
Perhaps next year they’ll be able to reach out and help someone else, the way they have been helped. A modest gift can be the light in the darkness.
And consider how happy you can make a child when they wake up on Christmas morning and their parents can give them a token of love. They can create a memory of magic and joy.
No child should have to be reminded on Christmas that they’re poor. They’re still deserving. We all are. Please donate.