The festive season in December is sometimes described as the season of giving.
It’s a time when many will support food and gift drives to help those less fortunate in our communities. And, it’s a time when many will include charitable giving in their holiday activities.
This is the time of year when people take time to consider those who are in need among us.
The faces of those in need are as diverse as the faces which make up our communities.
We have some who are living in poverty, in every community in our province. For them, the holiday season is difficult. In addition to the costs of food, warm clothing and shelter from the elements in winter, this is also the time when there are other expenses associated with festive season celebrations.
It is easy to picture people like the Cratchit family from Charles Dickens’s 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol. The family of seven, with one seriously ill child, are quite obviously in need, and supporting such a family is seen as a noble part of the holiday season.
But not all people in need among us look like the Cratchit family.
In many communities in British Columbia, there are transients and homeless people living among us. They are also in need of food, shelter and warm clothing, especially on cold winter nights. These people are ignored, marginalized and too often judged. But their needs are real.
While some have addictions or mental health issues, they are still in desperate need, not only in December but all year.
There are others among us who have needs which are not as easy to see. Some are earning low wages and are struggling to cope with the essentials at this time of the year, let alone the seasonal festivities. Others are seniors on fixed incomes, struggling with rising costs. And some have been hit with unexpected expenses or a medical emergency.
And while the needs are more acute at this time of the year, there are always people among us who are struggling.
While this time of year is the season of giving, there is a continuous need.
The faces of those in need are present with us throughout the year. They must not be ignored or forgotten.