By Chad Ingram
D uring the weekend I attended not one but two Santa Claus parades because well my life is just really exciting like that.
The annual parades in the villages of Minden and Haliburton usher the Christmas season into the community.
There will be festive displays in store windows lights strung on houses and Christmas carols on the radio.
But beneath the festive swell of the season lies the constant reality that Haliburton County is per capita one of the poorest municipalities in the province.
While some county residents may be lining up for Black Friday sales this week in a few weeks’ time others will be lining up for a basket from the Minden Christmas Basket Campaign. The program helps provide gifts and food for households that may have fallen off Santa’s radar.
Throughout the year hundreds rely on area food banks to help feed themselves but the need is even greater this time of year as people try to prepare Christmas meals for their families.
The Heat Bank Haliburton County and Fuel for Warmth are both organizations that help those who may have trouble heating their homes throughout the winter.
The Highlands Christmas Shindig a fundraiser for Fuel for Warmth is this Saturday night.
The show is sold out (probably because the performers are so outrageously good-looking) but there are donation tins set up around the community.
There is also SIRCH’s Gifts from the Heart program and a number of other charitable ways to give a gift this Christmas.
In a lagging economy punctuated by stagnant wages and contract work and with the ever-increasing price of electricity it can be easy to feel squeezed.
(As a side note when the province has a special program to help people who cannot afford to pay their hydro bills it should be obvious it is charging way too much for hydro.)
However as many a heart-warming meme on Facebook will tell you if you have a roof over your head food on your table and a few good friends you are richer than you realize.
At the warden’s banquet last week County Warden Murray Fearrey said Haliburton County doesn’t need a hand out it needs a hand up.
At this special time of year those of us who can afford to need to be willing to extend that hand.