We all have a reason

[youtubelink url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8CvzXY8wAg"][/youtubelink]

My dad left his job with the Vancouver police force in order to buy a farm. From my mom’s stories of rural life, he had cobbled together a dream of running his own show from the seat of a tractor. When I turned three, our family held its breath and traded the featherbed of suburbia for 100 stubbled acres off a dirt road in rural Ontario.

It worked for a few years. When things got lean, we converted part of the house to a bakery and sold our own pork tenderloin and rhubarb pies to cottagers on their way to Georgian Bay. But impossible decisions loomed with every new season: repair the roof or restore the crumbling foundation. Make a mortgage payment or fix the aging truck.  Buy school supplies or much-needed farm equipment.

As a kid, I was insulated from all of that. My parents managed to fill every Christmas with an abundance of toys and food, and it was only once I grew up that I understood how close to the poverty line we had crept, and how that must have made my parents feel.

If anything had happened – a fire, an illness, a family breakdown, or any of the thousand calamities that can strike without cause or warning – we would never have kept our heads above water. Not without someone to support us while we groped for shore.

Now that I am just beginning to finance my own dreams, I realize how many people aren’t as lucky as we were. It would have been devastating for my parents to give me a Christmas without toys, without food, without a warm house. The thought of how near we came to that reality stops my heart. And the thought of all the children who do face that reality breaks it.

That’s why a group like The Christmas Exchange is so important to me, even though I’ve never needed it, and to inMotion, even though we don’t profit from it.  This is too important.  As of right now, with only seventeen days to go before 11,000 Ottawa children wake up in poverty on Christmas morning, The Christmas Exchange is still $250,000 short of its minimum goal.  They pledge to bring food, toys, and hope to every single Ottawa family in need, but they can’t do it unless the rest of us step up.

I might have needed this charity when I was kid. I could still need it in the future. And so could you.  Pause for a second, lean back in your chair, and think about your last meal.  Think about your next one.  Think about all the Christmas seasons past, and all the ones you’re looking forward to.  Imagine all of that vanishing.

If you’re in a position to give, please consider The Christmas Exchange. You can donate online, by phone, and by mail. Visit www.christmas-exchange.com to learn how.

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