A Fairfield boy is making a difference this Christmas by collecting sleeping bags to distribute to Victoria’s homeless.
Five-year-old Tate Parker hopes to collect 51 gently used sleeping bags that he will distribute with his father and grandfather to homeless people camping in Beacon Hill Park, the tent city outside Victoria’s courthouse and other locations on Christmas Eve.
“I’m going to give them to the people who don’t have any homes,” said Tate, who is in kindergarden at St. Michaels University School. “They can only eat apples.”
He hopes to collect one sleeping bag for every dollar he currently has in his piggy bank. He’ll give people $1 from his piggy bank for the sleeping bag and for people who don’t want the money, he’ll give it to people in parks.
It’s an idea that’s been brewing with Tate for several weeks.
Once a week, him and his family walk to Beacon Hill Park, where they feed the ducks and explore the park, and often encounter people sleeping in tents.
“I feel sad,” said Tate, when he sees people in sleeping bags.
His father Neil said he asks a lot of questions about if they’re allowed to be there, why they don’t have tents and why their sleeping bags are so dirty.
“He’s not afraid of these people, nor should he be. He’s curious, he asks questions and that kind of led to what can we do,” Neil said. “We see them every weekend. They’re a part of our community. We shouldn’t be fearful. Why not give them a warm, clean sleeping bag for at least Christmas Eve?”
So far, Tate has collected 15 sleeping bags from people around Greater Victoria in a 24-hour period.
On Dec. 24, Tate will get to experience first-hand what giving to the less fortunate feels like.
“We’re not interested in collecting and dropping where he doesn’t see what happens to these things,” Neil said. “It’ll be part of his Christmas experience that he’s directly involved in the process of giving. I want it to be something that he’s going to remember.”
Tate will also write Christmas cards to those who donate.
To donate sleeping bags email email@example.com.