If there’s snow on the ground and Christmas decorations on the houses, it won’t be long before miserly Jacob Marley and put-upon clerk Bob Cratchit are back on their rounds, collecting donations from Langley businesses.
This is the 27th year for a Charles Dickens-themed fundraiser by Kuyer & Associates, which sees a duo in Victorian garb turning up at local firms and offices.
Wayne Kuyer and his late business partner Stephen de Verteuil started the charity, with Kuyer taking on the role of Jacob Marley and de Verteuil as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Since the two were partners in accounting, they were a perfect fit for the roles of the characters from A Christmas Carol.
De Verteuil passed away in 2002 at the age of 47, and his portrayal of Scrooge was retired, but Kuyer kept going solo until recruiting Kuyer & Associates accountant Kyle Murray as Bob Cratchit in 2017.
This year will be a big one, Kuyer said, as they expect to pass the $400,000 mark in total donations collected over the entire run of the annual Christmas charity.
All the money goes to either the Langley Christmas Bureau or the Empty Stocking Fund – donors can specify one or the other, or let their donation be divided equally.
READ ALSO: Plan ahead for a safe holiday season
“We usually set a goal of $25,000,” said Kuyer, although for the last couple of years they’ve exceeded that amount.
When businesses donate, they get a visit from Marley and Cratchit.
“My line is ‘If you don’t want to see us now, I can always come on Christmas Eve!’” said Kuyer.
Jacob Marley’s ghost famously haunts his partner Scrooge on Christmas Eve in the Dickens story.
“I’m the tag-along,” joked Murray. “When we walk in, it’s always fun.”
The Victorian setting of the original story featured a world of haves and have-nots, with working people struggling.
The problems of poverty are still here, more than a century and a half after Dickens wrote his story.
“I think there’s certainly a lot of families that are struggling,” Kuyer said, and he thinks people who donate recognize that.
In-person visits by the duo take place from Dec. 12 to 16 around Langley. With the COVID-19 pandemic receding, they’ll be back to visiting more in person this year.
Have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org