Cynthia Royea’s 12-year-old son Logan decided his time out of the classroom would be well spent doing some good for those living in vulnerable circumstances.
“I was just in the living room and my parents were watching the news and there was a homeless man who died, he froze to death, and I felt really bad. I just didn’t want that to happen to other people and I came up with an idea to help them and make their winter a better one,” said Logan.
“At first, it was to kind of to get off online schooling, he admitted. “Why am I doing this when I can get out there and make a difference?”
He went right off, made calls to see if people we knew had donations,” said his mother..
They have been collecting donations from people in the local community and the generosity resulted in a U-haul full of essential items delivered this weekend to some grateful recipients..
The initiative started with a call-out to the community on Facebook. “We started off on Facebook where my mom posted a video asking for donations and it just fired off from there. A whole bunch of people started donating and in one day our truck was full so we had to get a U-haul. People just kept bringing stuff over to the daycare and some we had to go pick up the stuff, I still can’t believe it.”
On the weekend, Logan and his mom made a trip with the U-haul to Montreal. “We went to Maison des Pères at first, then after we saw more homeless people, and then we went to the Old Brewery. There were people that came out and they were super polite and fun to talk to. We took at least 10 minutes or maybe more to talk with people to try and get to know them and their stories and it’s really sad,” mentioned Logan. “They were super happy and when we were done, some of them started crying. There was one group of about four people and they only wanted what they needed, but when they left there was one guy and he was crying. It was really magical.”
They also went to the Indigenous homeless shelter to provide fur coats. “Out of the blue, an Indigenous person brought us to the Native shelter, he said. I know some people that would really like those. There’s not even a sign outside, you really have to know where it is.”
Royea emphasized taking only what was needed was something that they took notice of immediately. “We opened up the U-Haul and we let them choose what they wanted, but the most amazing things is that everyone took only what they needed. One man took just two facecloths, but that’s what he needed so he didn’t take more. They would share and make sure the other person had a winter jacket too. Some people have stereotypes of what those in need are like, but it’s the opposite.”
Many of the people they spoke to explained that they choose to stay outdoors because they are not allowed to bring their belongings into the shelter and they do not want to lose what they have. “One of the men said, I have my pictures of my daughter and sister and I have a baby stroller with everything in that stroller, but if I go to the shelter I can’t bring it. They have to leave it somewhere that is not around the shelter.”
Logan and Royea also received about $400 in monetary donations that they used to pick up things that went quickly, like sleeping bags and gloves, and laundry soap for the Old Brewery shelter. “They have budgets for the month and they had no more money for the laundry soap. Fifty per cent of their staff was also out on quarantine because they had been in contact with Covid, so staff is less available o help out and they really needed laundry soap,” explained Royea. “Even the people that were outside and working said right off to bring the laundry soap in. They were so happy to have that to wash their clothes inside.”
Royea added that one man explained that the lack of staff also makes it difficult to hand out items donated to the shelters. “Even if people gave stuff, they don’t have time to go through it.”
Noticing the difference one small act makes, Logan and Royea have no plans to slow down. “It’s something we really like to do and we have so much stuff too,” said Logan. “I really want to keep on going so it’s something we will keep on doing.”
“If someone wants to private message about a family that needs warm items, we can keep it anonymous,” added Royea. “We did that Sunday, we brought stuff to family in Granby that we were told about. Even if it’s locally, wherever, we will take it.”
To donate or support the cause, you can send an email to email@example.com or call 450-578-6955.