“There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up” – Bernard Meltzer
A reminder to local businesses: Marley will soon be at your doorsteps, rattling chains in an effort to drum up money for disadvantaged local families.
The man playing Jacob Marley from Charles Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol is Langley accountant Wayne Kuyer.
From Dec. 15 to 18, Kuyer will dress in period costume and venture out to the local business community, asking for support in his campaign to collect funds for the Langley Christmas Bureau and Province Empty Stocking Fund.
For the past 13 years, he’s been going it alone, carrying on the work that he did alongside Stephen de Verteuil, who was Kuyer’s business partner and the original Scrooge.
Stephen died in May 2002, at the age of 47.
For the 20th year, Kuyer will continue on as Marley in a charity drive that over the past 19 years has raised more than $207,865 for families in need (the Scrooge & Marley Christmas Fund, established in 1996, is committed to the continued support of the community and is dedicated to Stephen’s memory).
“It’s a community service but also to acknowledge that this is something [Stephen] loved doing,” Kuyer said.
The goal this year is to collect $20,000.
To ensure the funds are distributed to the two causes, businesses are urged to donate by Friday, Dec. 18.
“We just go business to business and kind of remind them that it’s the time of the year where you have to think outside yourself a little bit and consider those who are a little less fortunate this time of the year,” Kuyer said. “It’s really a fundraiser. The easiest venue for me is really to approach ones who have given in the past, because I can only do so much as a one-man team.”
Kuyer said giving to the Scrooge & Marley Christmas Fund “has become a tradition” for a lot of merchants.
“I’ve got probably a half a dozen calls from people who have a cheque for me to pick up,” Kuyer said.
Notices are delivered to local businesses to give “a heads up that we are coming,” Kuyer said, thanking all those who have donated in the past.
This is a busy time of the year for Kuyer but the motivation to volunteer his time and effort comes from the drive’s past success.
“How many people can raise $20,000 to assist these charities in that kind of timeline? Knowing there is a need out there is really why,” he said, regarding why he continues his charity work every December.
And if he doesn’t reach his $20,000 goal?
“Oh I quit! I send a letter out to all my givers and ask why I didn’t make my target!” Kuyer answered with a hearty laugh, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “Really, that just means I have to try a little harder and reach out to a few more businesses.”