Give to the Caledon Santa Fund and help make someone’s Christmas merry

Written by: Tayler Parnaby


Please don't donate expired food

Caledon Community Services manager of community animation Kim D’Eri with an already growing pile of expired donations at the Caledon Exchange. – Matthew Strader Metroland

“’Twere the nights before Christmas and all through the house all creatures were stirring including the mouse.” Apologies to the Rev. Clement Clarke Moore, author of the enduring 1822 poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. But, how better to describe the helter-skelter days before Christmas.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Story might be apt too. After a visiting London’s Field Lane Ragged School in 1843, Dickens wrote a friend, saying, “I have very seldom seen, in all the strange and dreadful things I have seen in London and elsewhere anything so shocking as the dire neglect of soul and body exhibited in these children.” The story of the salvation of Scrooge remains a Christmas staple.

All this leads to a request to be allowed to bend an ear and your thoughts for a moment. In celebrating Christmas this year, perhaps we could find the spirit of investing time and treasure in the challenges facing as many as one in five Caledon families living in a town once elegantly described as “the Hamptons of the north … a mythological place that exists primarily in people’s imaginations and has never fully jelled as a single municipality.”

Yet, if you drive westwards along Healey Road from Highway 50, at the first bend, on you right, you’ll spot “the Exchange,” a modest building which exemplifying the never-ending efforts of a little understood organization which touches the lives of thousands in this community. It’s closed for a few days now allowing Caledon Community Service volunteers to fill a warehouse with the essentials of Christmas. That’s before “stockings are hung by the chimney with care,” before “children are nestled all snug in their beds” with “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads,” and long before we all “settle down for a long winter’s nap.”

In remarkably understated ways, CCS is the backbone of Caledon’s social services, addressing the needs of all ages. As importantly, their elves have now opened the CCS Christmas Fund, a means by which donations, investments in a community’s well-being, pays for ongoing services beyond the makings of a fulsome Christmas turkey dinner for challenged families and for gifts which may spark the imagination and memories of the children.

Donations of food and unwrapped gifts can be made at the Exchange, 55 Healey Rd., until late Friday afternoon. More importantly, donations to the CCS Santa Fund will help the elves more directly target specific needs of people, be it housing, nutritional, educational, transportation, family or counselling support, even help “heating a family home.”

For the record, data generated by the Region of Peel indicates that more than 3,000 individuals including 1,300 families struggle to make ends meet and Christmas merry.

Gifting is a click away at

Tayler Parnaby is a retired broadcast journalist. He is a community columnist with the Caledon Enterprise. Reach him at

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