By Jenn Watt
Despite international causes demanding attention and troubling economic news nationally, in Haliburton County it seems generosity springs eternal.
Speaking with representatives of charities most likely to rely on Christmas oriented donation campaigns we heard that all of them brought in more donations this year than the year before.
Both of the county’s heat organizations attracted major dollars, each raising about $20,000. SIRCH Community Services has seen $22,000 coming in for its meal and bereavement programs as of last week and the health care foundation is on track to reach its $100,000 goal for emergency room equipment.
All of this despite Canadians’ hearts going out to the refugee crisis (more than $15,000 raised locally so far) and a shakier economy than we’ve had in the last couple of years.
It says a lot about a place when people become more giving and compassionate the tougher things get. Rather than tighten purse strings, it seems Haliburtonians are finding more.
The 4Cs reports much of the same with chairman David Ogilvie telling a touching tale about a man who arrived at the food bank with a pickup truck filled with some $800 worth of groceries. Toy drives by the Home Builders Association, Bank of Montreal and others helped pack the basement of the Catholic church so that no child goes without something new and special under the tree this year.
But lest we think these charities are now taken care of, ready to solve the problems of the county, Ogilvie points out that demand is up.
Those who were at one time able to squeeze by on their part-time or minimum wage pay cheques are finding it harder to manage, he said, and the 4Cs is seeing people in need of assistance who are gainfully employed more and more.
Cost of living is going up and wages aren’t keeping pace.
Think of what you paid for groceries last week versus what you would have paid five or six years ago. Same goes for hydro rates. The price at the pumps. The list goes on.
As usual, the Highlands has come through again in so many ways this year. Our community is better for each gesture of generosity.
Let’s make a New Year’s resolution that the spirit we have felt this past month will stay with us all year long continuing to improve the lives of others through our hard-working local charities.