EDITORIAL: Various ways to give back

Everyone can make an impact in their West Shore community

We have various motivations for giving to charity, whether we do so in the leadup to Christmastime or at other times of the year.

According to Statistics Canada, the top four identified reasons we give are “compassion for those in need,” “personally believe in a cause,” “to contribute to my community” and “personally affected” by the cause for which funds are being raised.

As we head into a period when many people consider donating to charity – an estimated 40 per cent of all donations in a year happen in the final six weeks – we encourage you, our readers, to take a few moments to think about how and why you might like to give back.

While donating cash to your favourite charity or community service organization can go a long way and makes one feel good – there are many groups doing impactful work on the West Shore – not everyone has the means to give money.

Why not check into whether those groups have a need for volunteers at this time of year or in general? The Salvation Army, for example, is looking for people to staff its Christmas kettles in high-traffic areas around Greater Victoria. The Island Equipment Operators Association, which stages the annual Truck Lightup and Food Drive, can always use extra bodies to help along the route.

Many other organizations allow volunteers to work as little or as much as they want.

For charities to survive and continue to provide much-needed services to those in need, it’s important for a community to create a culture of giving. Developing such a culture works best if it involves young people.

We’ve been inspired in recent years by the selfless volunteer work of Belmont secondary students working on the 10,000 Tonight project (see story in this issue). Last year students, with the help of many other community volunteers, shattered the group’s goal of collecting 10,000 items of non-perishable food. This time around students from the Sooke School District’s three high schools, Belmont, Royal Bay and Edward Milne, are taking on the project, which happens next week (Dec. 2).

Whether they’ve had giving back modelled for them by parents, peers or others, these young people are well on their way to a lifetime of giving back.

That bodes well for all of us in future.

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