Opinion: Spread the giving

Like in so many years in the past, Chilliwack has once again stepped forward to help those less fortunate.

The outpouring of good will this time of year could warm the heart of the coldest person.

Saturday’s “Food Mob” was a perfect example.

More than 18,000 food items and $2,800 were raised for the Salvation Army Food Bank – filling a storeroom that only a few weeks ago stood empty.

The effort, organized by local teacher Chris Reitsma, was an unqualified success.

But it hasn’t been the only one this year. Like in so many years in the past, Chilliwack has once again stepped forward to help those less fortunate.

The elves at Chilliwack Community Services have been hard at work, organizing new toy donations for nearly 900 local families.

They got an extra push last weekend from the Realtors’ Toy Drive, which followed an earlier effort by the Chilliwack-Mount Cheam Rotary Club and its annual CATT volleyball tournament. (That event has garnered more than 11,000 toys and over $250,000 in the past 25 years.)

Volunteers are out ringing bells at Salvation Army donation kettles, students are organizing food drives, and businesses and individuals are adopting families so no one has to go without.

At Ruth and Naomi’s Mission, volunteers are preparing to serve Christmas dinner to about 500 people in two sittings on Christmas Day.

The outpouring of kindness is impressive, especially given the time of year. As Ebenezer Scrooge was pointedly reminded, “Because it is at Christmas time that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices.”

But the “want” does not end with the season. Even as the weather warms and the promise of spring re-emerges, the need is there.

That’s why planned giving makes such sense. Many charities now make it easier for people to make regular donations throughout the year. Simple deductions from an account or a credit card of only a few dollars a month can lighten the load, and provide greater financial security so these charities can continue to do their work today and tomorrow.

It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.