A five-year-old Fairfield boy, who collected sleeping bags for the city’s homeless, has received an award for helping his community.
Tate Parker, a kindergartner at St. Michaels University School, was awarded the community service award by the Blanket B.C. Society at the Victoria Cool-Aid Society’s Mount Edwards Court last Friday.
Tate was excited and surprised to receive the award.
“It’s been an unforgettable experience for our family, something that I’ll have with Tate for our whole life,” said his father Neil.
“We didn’t have any dream that we would be standing here today or collecting as many (sleeping bags) as we did and having the kind of impact on the homeless situation that it had. The sleeping bags were one thing, but raising awareness was a whole other thing.”
Tate’s mission began in November when he decided to collect 51 gently-used sleeping bags (51 being the amount of money he had in his piggy bank) and distribute them to homeless people camping in Beacon Hill Park and Victoria’s infamous tent city outside the courthouse on Christmas Eve.
The campaign exploded quickly.
In the end, Tate collected more than 120 sleeping bags from people around the capital region and blankets to distribute.
Gregory Ould, executive director of the Blanket B.C. Society, originally heard about Tate’s mission from an article in the Victoria News.
“It’s people (like Tate) that will make the community better,” Ould said, adding Tate is the youngest recipient to receive the award. “He actually did it on his own volition.”
Neil said they’ve considered the possibility of continuing the campaign next year as well.
Blanket B.C. Society is a non-profit organization that collects blankets for the homeless and has collected more than 220,000 blankets over the past 10 years.