For 115 years, a gift from the Santa Claus Fund has brightened up Christmas morning for countless children.

Star Readers! It’s that special time of year again.

It is the time when you, along with the readers of our sister newspapers in Mississauga, Brampton, Ajax and Pickering, can make a Christmas difference for 50,000 children.

There are 50,000 children who, without that gift box from the Santa Claus Fund, will be left hungry at Christmas. In fact, that box, containing a hoodie, hat, gloves, socks, a small toy, cookies, and a toothbrush, may be all they receive. It can make the difference between a happy and a sad Christmas.

For 115 years, our readers have always delivered. We always meet our goal. Now, in our 116th campaign, we come back to you, knowing that you have never let us down. It’s one of the reasons the Santa Fund is GTA’s oldest ongoing Christmas charity.

Our fundraising goal this year is $ 1.5 million. And due to the harsh reality of a city affected by COVID, we have increased by 5,000 the number of boxes that will be distributed to disadvantaged children. The need is that great.

You have all heard the stories of the dramatic increase in the use of food banks. You know that many are still struggling. You know how we continue to attract refugees and displaced families from around the world.

In short, the need is as great as it was in 1906 when The Star’s legendary spiritual founder, Joseph Atkinson, started the fund.

He learned the lesson firsthand growing up in Newcastle, Ontario. As the oldest son in a struggling single parent family, young Joe could only dream of owning ice skates. One day, he was standing by a skating rink watching others skate, when a woman came up and asked him why he hadn’t joined. When he heard the reason, he quickly bought her his first pair for Christmas.

For young Joe, that gift was what he called the happiest Christmas day of his childhood. And the spirit of that reaction has been repeated over and over again for the past 115 years.

Does an unexpected Christmas present really make that much of a difference? You gamble. How else can the annual flow of patrimonial donations from people who unexpectedly arrive at our offices be explained? Over the years, we have received 43 bequests of more than $ 10,000. For this year alone, we have already received estate donations of $ 347,189. Many of these are incredible gestures from people for whom the receipt of a simple Christmas box meant a lot in their life.

During three decades as chair of the committee that oversees the fund, I had the privilege of hearing directly these legacies and the words that came with them. The emotion was real.

There is also no doubt that Star’s ongoing policy of paying all fund administrative expenses is highly respected. It means that our many donors, along with foundations, corporations, and other donor agencies, know that 100 percent of their dollars go directly to paying for the boxes.

Our gift box partners, Joe Fresh, Toys’R’Us, Scholastic, and Colgate-Palmolive, also applaud our approach.

We also take very seriously that boxes go to the most deserving. We have worked each year with Ontario Works and more than 100 agencies to refine the lists.

Ultimately, the fund only works thanks to the tireless efforts of our corps of dedicated packers and delivery volunteers. It’s a great team effort.

So once again, precisely for the 116th time, we are addressing you.

I just know in my heart that you will give it up. You always do it!

If you have touched the Santa Claus Fund or have a story to tell, send an email [email protected] or call 416-869-4847.

John Honderich is the former editor of the Toronto Star and former chairman of the TorStar board.

OBJECTIVE: $ 1.5 million

TILL THE DATE: $ 1,035,780

How to donate

By credit card: Visa, Mastercard or AMEX. Call 416-869-4847

By check: Mail to: Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund, One Yonge St., Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6

Online: To donate, scan this QR code or use our secure form at:

The Star does not authorize anyone to make requests on its behalf. Tax receipts will be issued.

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