By Jeff Bell, Times Colonist December 21, 2010 6:49 AM

Charitable efforts like the Times Colonist Christmas Fund depend on a caring and generous public.

For the past 53 years, because the community steps up to contribute, the fund has been able to help people who are struggling financially or facing other challenges.

The business sector always has been an important part of the effort, as shown this year by an initiative launched at the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

Staff at the University of Victoria enterprise created a Christmas tree festival in the lobby of the main building, urging members to “decorate to give” — with all proceeds going to the TC Fund.

The Tech Park has 36 companies in its facilities, employing a total of 1,300 people.

Nikki de Goey, manager of culture and corporate relations for the park, developed the fundraising idea.

“I really wanted to get something going around the Christmas season,” she said. “I’ve always had a soft spot for the Christmas charities. We’re trying to engage the different tenants of the Tech Park and get them to showcase their company’s culture and spirit.”

The result is a “small forest” in the Tech Park’s lobby, where trees have been sponsored for $150. All of the trees are live potted firs obtained through the Gardenworks Giving Tree Program.

After the holiday season, the trees will be given to The Land Conservancy for planting at Sooke Potholes, de Goey said.

In the meantime, they’re adding a festive air, she said.

“The companies have been decorating them and there’s some innovative ideas coming out.”

She said she is already looking forward to expanding the program next year.

In another corporate effort, a Jan. 15 event at the Victoria Conference Centre called A Motivational Day will benefit four local charities, including the TC Fund. Seven inspirational speakers will give presentations. Tickets are $90. Visit criticalmatters.org.

Supporting the TC Fund means individuals and families will be provided with grocery vouchers, and children 17 and younger will receive gift vouchers. In 2009, the public’s donations allowed the fund to help 2,100 households at Christmas.

Here is how to donate to the fund:

– Mail a cheque to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.

– Donate with your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438.

– Look for one of the many Times Colonist Christmas Fund drop boxes around the city.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Small+forest+charity+invades+Tech+Park/4007232/story.html#ixzz18mNZDKqi

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