British Columbia

14-year-old former foster child helping kids in need this Christmas

Andrew Teel knows Christmas is tough for kids who don’t have a lot because he was in foster care until he was six. Now, he's giving back.

Andrew Teel and his adoptive mother, Sandy, are raising money online for Covenant House

14-year-old Andrew Teel prepares baked goods to sell to raise money for Covenant House. The former foster child has spent the past three years giving back through fundraising. (Sandy Teel)

A 14-year-old Coquitlam boy is raising money for children in need this Christmas for the second year in a row.

Andrew Teel knows very well how tough Christmas is for kids who don't have a lot: he was in foster care until he was six.

"[My mom] asks me every year what I want to do [for Christmas], and I said, I want to make a change in the world and help people who need the help the most," Andrew told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"I feel that it's better than getting something because you feel good after you do something that's good."

This year Andrew and his adoptive mother, Sandy, are raising money for Covenant House B.C. with a campaign called Toonies for Teens.

Andrew has already raised over $1,000 for the charity, which helps disadvantaged youth.

But he's not done: he's collecting donations until Christmas Day.

Before his two years raising money for Covenant House, in 2014, Andrew spent Christmas Eve giving out care packages in stockings to disadvantaged people on the Downtown Eastside. He is pictured here with his adoptive mother, Sandy (left) and a woman he gave a care package to. (Sandy Teel)

A bigger Christmas wish

Andrew and Sandy have been together ever since he asked his new mom for a hug.

Sandy, a daycare owner, would walk her kindergarten-age kids to school every day, and give them a hug goodbye at the school.

Andrew Teel poses for a photo with his adoptive father, Mark, shortly before he joined the Teel family. (Sandy Teel)

Andrew wanted to have a hug too, and soon he was getting one from Sandy every day.

"About a month later, my girlfriend said, 'I have something to tell you… that little boy you hug every day? He's in foster care," Sandy recalled.

She told her husband and older son about him — apparently more than once.

"My older son said, 'mum, you talk about him every day. He's in foster care. Why don't we adopt him?'" Sandy said.

Andrew felt the same way: when Sandy asked him back then what he wanted for Christmas, it was to be adopted.

They started the paperwork that December, and by the end of his kindergarten year, he was a Teel.

You can find more on Andrew's fundraising efforts here.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast

Sandy Teel and Andrew Teel pose for a photo after they were a family for about one year. (Sandy Teel)

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