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Caledon Enterprise
ByKay MacDuffee/Country Roads

Simplfying the holidays this season…
- Dr. Seuss

This begins with a kind of ‘Whoa! Stop the presses call, and addresses a problem that has sprung from last week’s column ‘Simplify the holidays’.

I was misled on my mission to track and post the track records of major charities. I apologize for doing less than my usual rigorous research before diving in, and in the interim damaging the integrity of the organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, United Way, UNICEF, American Red Cross, and World Vision. The information contained in the column has since been removed online at caledonenterprise.com.

My inner ‘never trust just one source’ directive must have been asleep at the switch, because that is exactly what I did this time. What a lesson!

To learn more about Canadian charities visit Money Sense Magazine’s article on charities at moneysense.ca/the-2013-charity-100-grades. Or visit the individual organizations directly to view their annual reports.

Last week I mentioned two local charities – Palgrave Rotary and Sleeping Children Around the World.

There are more. Our Caledon Santa Fund is in full gear this month and is hoping that those of us gifted with plenty will have the grace and compassion to share it with the hundreds of families who have not, right here in our community.

Caledon Community Services counts on donations to the Santa Fund to provide help with such diverse possibilities as counseling, fresh fruits, veggies and dairy, educational assistance, medical necessities and help with heat for families in need.

How in good conscience can we say no?  Most adults on our Christmas list would be happy to have this kind of gift sent in their honour instead of another candle or bar of soap.

It’s easy to give to the Santa Fund. Do it online by visiting ccs4u.org or contact Nicole Dumanski at (905) 584-2300 ext.236.  Or drop into the CCS offices in the Bolton Courtyards on the upper level.

Knowing that our donation has provided, at the very least, a nourishing meal and a warm house is what opens our hearts, like the miracle that happened in Who-ville when “the Grinch’s small heart (formerly ‘two sizes too small’) grew three sizes” the day that he gave back the Christmas he had stolen.

We are giving back Christmas to families in Caledon, and this is real life.  Let’s make some miracles.

Another of my favourite local charitable organizations covering both Caledon and Dufferin is Family Transition Place (FTP).  FTP offers not just shelter for women at risk, but safety, support and hope.

They run a 24-hour crisis line (1-800-265-9178). They give transitional training, counseling (for men and women) legal and housing support.  They offer youth education and community awareness programs.

Family Transition Place changes lives.  Who would not want to be part of that team?

FTP suggests making a gift donation in honour of some special one. A letter notifying the recipient of your contribution will be sent and you get a separate tax receipt. Visit familytransitionplace.ca to make a donation.

And they are selling gorgeous 2014 calendars for $20.  ‘Celebrating Women 2014’ is a work of art with stunning images and worldly truths, available in Bolton at Naked Café and Forsters Book Garden, in Caledon East at Gourmandissimo and in Caledon Village at Chicaboom.

I believe that these acts of kindness express the authentic, deeper meaning of Christmas.  This is ‘keeping the Christ in Christmas’.  Every religion, at its heart is about kindness.  The Dalai Lama has said, “My religion is kindness”.  I love that.  It is so inclusive.

May all our ‘religions’ and directives and motivations ‘be kindness’ this season and beyond.  And may we experience the swelling of our heart as it stretches, like it did for the poor old Grinch, to fit who we really are.

Editor’s Note: In the column ‘Simplify the holidays, Enterprise Dec. 5, the information on charitable salaries and benefits included appears to have come from a malicious email campaign that aims to tarnish the reputations of a number of charitable organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, United Way, UNICEF, American Red Cross, and World Vision among others. The Enterprise apologizes and regrets the error. To learn more about the organizations and their financial information please visit their respective websites.

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