Syrian refugees get mittens from Vancouver boy Max Honey

A 12-year-old Vancouver boy has been using his weekly allowance to buy Olympic mitts for refugees arriving in Vancouver.

'It's like a hug. It's to keep them warm, make them feel happy'

Max Honey delivers Olympic mittens to the Immigrant Services Society each week. Shamsia Alef-Sultani works at ISS of BC and looks forward to his weekly visit. (Bal Brach/CBC News)

A 12-year-old boy from Vancouver has been using his weekly allowance to buy Olympic mittens and deliver them to recently arrived Syrian refugees.

Max Honey said the idea came while he was watching CBC's news coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis earlier this year.

"I really felt bad because they're fleeing a war-struck country to come here to Canada," said Honey.

"It's cold in Canada."

It's like a hug on their hands- Max Honey

Max Honey has been using his allowance money to buy mittens for Syrian refugees arriving in Vancouver. (CBC News)

At the end of each week, Honey goes to the Hudson's Bay Company with his weekly earnings from household chores, to buy mittens.

"I've been doing my chores. I make about $20 per week. I used to make a bit less but I told my parents I want to do this and they're like okay. So I do the dishes, I set the table, I do the garbage and the washing machine."

He usually ends up buying a few different sized mittens for a family of four or five.

"It's like a hug. It's to keep them warm, make them feel happy," said Honey, who has bought about 60 pairs since the end of November.

"They can feel proud to be Canadian or become Canadian."

Offer initially turned down

Former refugee and current Immigrant Services Society of B.C. employee Shamsia Alef-Sultani said initially, when Max's mom Karla called the society, she had turn down the offer of mittens.

The organization is overwhelmed by donations and cannot accept more.

But then when she heard the full story and realized Max was spending his own money on this initiative, she couldn't refuse the chance to allow Max to share kindness.

Max Honey holds the box of mittens he drops off every week at the Immigrant Services Society. (CBC News)

"He makes me really happy," said Alef-Sultani.

"As a parent, I'm really proud of him. What he felt about it — the way he wants to welcome the new refugees."

Max's father Chris is also proud.

"It's wonderful," said Chris Honey.

"I think it was very Canadian of him to welcome strangers to our country, I think it's one of the things that makes us Canadian."

Max wants the refugees to feel at home when they wear the mittens, "sort of like a hug on their hands."

In the New year, Max will tell his classmates about his project and he hopes they'll join him by using their own allowance to buy more mitts.

About the Author

Bal Brach


Bal Brach is an award-winning reporter at CBC News Vancouver. She has more than a decade of experience working in television, radio and online news across Canada. Bal's storytelling skills have earned her a Jack Webster Award. She is also the recipient of regional and national Radio Television Digital News Association awards. Bal can be reached at or on social media @BalBrach


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