Saying "No" To Scrooge This Season

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Crystal (Grade 12)

"Keeping Christmas is good, but sharing it with others is much better." This quote recently struck me while reading a quips book, and it is something I have been reflecting on as we enter the Christmas season. At a time of year when we find ourselves "all spent" both physically and financially, it is often hard to find resources such as time, energy, and money to give to others. But statistics show the need is there - and it is very real. In 1994 the number of Canadians using a food bank at least once a year was 2.4 million. Forty percent are children. Can you allow the silent plea of these children to go unnoticed?

Don't let the attitude of Scrooge take over - charitable organizations need your help! Making a donation is only one of the many means by which you can provide support. The idea that financial contribution is primarily for the wealthy is a misconception - every penny counts. Students at Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler Manitoba proved this last Christmas. Digging into their pockets, in three weeks they came up with a collection of twelve hundred dollars for their local Christmas Cheerboard. The majority of this money consisted of small change.

Although financial support is undoubtedly important, there are various other ways to get involved without having to spend a lot of money. Non-profit organizations such as Winnipeg Harvest and others like it, that are committed to collecting and distributing surplus food to feed the hungry, need volunteers in many diverse areas. These areas include: administration and reception work, the acquisition of food and donations from companies, assistance in planning special events, sorting and packaging food or delivering goods to those in need.

Nevertheless, giving isn't limited only to adults. Take the project called The Samaritan's Purse for example. Organized by Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham, project Samaritan's Purse invites Canadian children to put together a shoe box of gifts for a child in another part of the globe. In Canada, 161 000 boxes brimming with toys, hygiene and school supplies were lovingly packed by the children of Canada. Upon the distribution of the first shipment of boxes in Central America, the reactions of the children were rather unique. The children would open the box, take out only one item and hand the box back, not fully comprehending that the entire box was for them. According to a recent news broadcast, "Children were overwhelmed that they would be remembered and cared for in this way."

Christmas is a time to love. So whether you show it by donating or volunteering to help a charitable organization, carolling at a home for the elderly or welcoming a new family into your neighbourhood, reach out and show someone you care. In the words of Robert Browning "Take away love, and our earth is a tomb."

So as we enter this Christmas season, remember the words found on a United Way billboard: "Giving isn't expensive - it's priceless"

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