Canadian Rental Service

At Your Service: A balm in dark times

By Russ Dantu   

Features Business Intelligence charity

Giving at Christmas is a way to feel good no matter what else is going on.

A lot of people around the country are in dark times right now. Every time I listen to the news, the numbers of people living paycheque to paycheque are terrifying. Some are even more destitute. They have to choose between paying rent, electricity and heat or eating three meals a day. Sometimes they let their children eat and skip a meal themselves because they have to cut back. Some can’t even afford to pay rent so they sleep in their vehicles or on a friend’s couch. It’s a very sad situation. Most of these people are hardworking individuals that just can’t keep up with all the rising costs that seem to be skyrocketing out of control. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, especially with Christmas just around the corner. Many families will have a very sad Christmas this year because they won’t be able to afford to buy gifts for their loved ones. They are proud and usually don’t like to reach out for help. They just keep plugging away and do the best they can. 

Years ago, I wasn’t in a position to donate monetarily so I volunteered wherever and whenever I could. It truly made me feel good. During COVID, I was tested again. Very little income coming in but I still found a way to volunteer and give huge discounts from my other business to an organization called the Magic of Christmas. I gave them some fancy red Christmas sacks for them to put some of the gifts in, which were then loaded on to buses and delivered to almost 800 families in need for Christmas. Each bus is equipped with many volunteers: a Santa, lots of elves and a city bus driver. (The city also donates the buses, all decked out in Christmas decorations and each one is named something like Donner, Blitzen, etc.) They collect donations all year long and when families are nominated they get a list of the ages of each family member and some items on a wish list. Those that need food also receive a nice turkey hamper with all the trimmings. 

I choose to deliver their collection boxes around the city for people to donate while they are out shopping. Then, when the boxes are full, volunteer drivers pick them up and bring them back to the warehouse to sort into the various age group bins. Most years, I work Christmas Eve day helping load all the buses before they head out. I’m not sure I could handle riding along on the buses to deliver to these families, as I’m sure there would be a lot of dust getting in my eyes and making them water (if you know what I mean).


I don’t write this to toot my own horn as there is a lot more I could likely do. But if all of us did just a little bit, it would truly help a lot. I have never volunteered for anything in hopes of gaining business but it occasionally happens. That is an extra perk that may or may not happen. I always volunteer for the right reason: to give back.

My ask of you this year is to make a difference where you can. It can be an excellent team-building event where you send employees to volunteer at something like the Magic of Christmas or the Veteran’s Food Bank or any other worthwhile charity. Do it during work hours or after hours and still pay them for their efforts. Maybe you’ve had a tremendously successful year and can afford to do something monetarily. Just do something. It will make you feel good, bring your team together at work and make your company look good in the eyes of the charities you choose to support and your community.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Merry Christmas!  

Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit

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