Syrian refugees get mittens from Vancouver boy Max Honey
'It's like a hug. It's to keep them warm, make them feel happy'
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
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."
"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.
"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.