Saturday, 13 December 2008

Readers at Xmas

Canadian newspaper readers are a caring and giving lot, as annual Christmas fundraising appeals prove year after year.

They give what they can so needy kids need not be on the outside looking in when presents are opened Christmas Day.

And they give from the heart so the homeless and other less fortunate men and women can enjoy a hot Christmas meal.

They pick a cause, give what they can.

With all fundraisers, no donation is too small.

As veteran newsman Bill Dampier was prone to say while raking in a small pot at the Toronto Press Club poker table: "Many a mickle makes a muckle."

It all adds up.

The oldest annual newspaper fundraiser at Christmas is the Toronto Star's Santa Claus Fund, established in 1906.

The Toronto Sun launched the Variety Village Christmas Fund 30 years ago. There are numerous other community newspaper efforts across the province.

Where there is a need, newspaper readers fill the void without hesitation.

Joe Warmington's Toronto Sun column on Friday, describing an almost empty room where 1,000 toys are needed for the St. James Town Christmas drive, sparked an immediate rush of donations.

We have no doubt Joe, the Sun and the community won't disappoint any needy kids on Santa's St. James Town list.

The Variety Village Christmas Fund, which columnist Mike Strobel has adopted following the death of master pitchman George Gross last March at 85, is now 30 years old.

George's pet project raised more than $1 million in three decades.

With 12 days to Christmas, Mike's appeals on behalf of Variety Village have raised more than $12,000 in snail mail and online donations. (See previous posting for a list of donors.)

Collectively, fund organizers and donors contribute to the true spirit of Christmas.

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