British Columbia

Victoria kindergartner collects sleeping bags for homeless

While many children are starting to compile their Christmas lists, Tate Parker is collecting 51 sleeping bags to give to the homeless — one for every dollar in his piggy bank.

Tate Parker will also give away all his piggy bank savings as part of the sleeping bag drive

Five-year-old Tate Parker and his father Neil stopped by CBC's studios in Victoria to talk about their efforts to collect 51 sleeping bags to donate to the city's homeless. (CBC)

When five-year-old Tate Parker and his father went for walks around Victoria and saw homeless people camping overnight in some of the city's parks, he decided to take action.

So the St. Michael's University kindergartener looked in his piggy bank, and decided that he and his father would collect 51 sleeping bags to give to the homeless on Christmas Eve — one for every dollar he has.

"They have no homes, and they don't have any food to eat," Tate told All Points West host Robyn Burns, when asked why he wanted to help.

"They don't have any sleeping bags, they just have cardboard."

'It just doesn't look fun'

His father Neil said that Tate was always curious about the homeless people he saw camping in the park in tents and sleeping bags, and would ask him where they're from, why they're there, and if they are cold.

"We go to Parksville a lot for camping, so he's always surprised to see campers in Beacon Hill park. He associates camping with campgrounds and RVs and a fun experience," Neil said, adding that together they also noticed that some of the sleeping bags they used looked cold and wet.

"We walk past these people and it just doesn't look fun."

Neil said that for each sleeping bag that is donated, Tate will give a dollar from the $51 he has in his piggy bank. If the donor doesn't want the dollar, it will go to the sleeping bag recipient.

Christmas Eve donation

The Parkers have to set up a Facebook page for their collection, and can also be contacted at sleepingbagtate@yahoo.com.

The sleeping bags will be washed by Tate's mother, and then Tate and his father will distribute the sleeping bags on the afternoon of Christmas Eve.

"I think it's easy to get caught up in the gift receiving part of Christmas … we're just trying to stay focused on what it is to give," said Neil.

"Tate loves giving. Just last weekend he was at a friend's house and he was able to give his buddies a little gift on his sleepover … He enjoys it so we want to carry that through the holidays and impact our local community and do it as a family, and have him get something from the experience something that he'll learn hopefully for the rest of his life."


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: Five-year-old Victoria boy is collecting sleeping bags to give to the homeless on Christmas Eve

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.