“Why doesn’t anybody help him if he’s hungry?”

My name is Christine Columbine. I have been married for 6 years to my hardworking, loving and patient husband and together, we have 2 boys aged 2 and 5 years old. I am a stay at home mom, however, I work 10 hours a week as a hair stylist in my hometown of Lloydminster, AB.  I want to share a story with you about what has motivated me to give to Covenant House Vancouver.  I am sharing my story in hopes that it will inspire, and warm the hearts of others.

On August 14th of this year, my husband (Lane), my oldest son (Elias), and I were in Edmonton, AB. for the day to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday. We wanted to take him somewhere special for his big day, and he chose West Edmonton Mall’s indoor Amusement Park, Galaxy land. We had an absolute blast!  After supper and a great day of fun we jumped in the car to head back to the hotel.  As we drove away from the mall, our tummies full after a great birthday meal, we approached a young man standing on a boulevard at one of the traffic lights. He must have been in his late 20’s, maybe early 30’s. 

He had a sign that read “Please help me, I’m down on my luck. Have not eaten in days.” This was very evident, as his frame was skeletal and he had very little expression in his eyes.  Making eye contact with him, I could see that there was no hope, no faith, no love, almost as if he was a shell of a body-invisible to the hundreds, if not thousands of people who drove right past him each day.  It ripped my heart out to think that this was somebody’s son, left to beg for food on a dangerous boulevard, all alone. 

My name is Christine Columbine. I have been married for 6 years to my hardworking, loving and patient husband and together, we have 2 boys aged 2 and 5 years old. I am a stay at home mom, however, I work 10 hours a week as a hair stylist in my hometown of Lloydminster, AB.  I want to share a story with you about what has motivated me to give to Covenant House Vancouver.  I am sharing my story in hopes that it will inspire, and warm the hearts of others.

On August 14th of this year, my husband (Lane), my oldest son (Elias), and I were in Edmonton, AB. for the day to celebrate my son’s 5th birthday. We wanted to take him somewhere special for his big day, and he chose West Edmonton Mall’s indoor Amusement Park, Galaxy land. We had an absolute blast!  After supper and a great day of fun we jumped in the car to head back to the hotel.  As we drove away from the mall, our tummies full after a great birthday meal, we approached a young man standing on a boulevard at one of the traffic lights. He must have been in his late 20’s, maybe early 30’s. 

He had a sign that read “Please help me, I’m down on my luck. Have not eaten in days.” This was very evident, as his frame was skeletal and he had very little expression in his eyes.  Making eye contact with him, I could see that there was no hope, no faith, no love, almost as if he was a shell of a body-invisible to the hundreds, if not thousands of people who drove right past him each day.  It ripped my heart out to think that this was somebody’s son, left to beg for food on a dangerous boulevard, all alone. 

I suddenly felt compelled to do something, and as I looked to my husband, I could see he was right there with me. I reached for my bag and all I could find was one of my son’s fruit bars. My husband took the bar, rolled down his window and held out his hand and said, “Please have this, I’m sorry it is all we have with us.” It was a quick exchange, but when the young man’s eyes met mine, I could see sincere gratitude. 

As we drove through the intersection, my perplexed son asked “Mommy, why did you give that man my fruit bar? Why were you talking to that stranger?” We told Elias that the man had no home to live, and that he was without any food. I explained that the fruit bar was something that we gave to him because he needed it more than we did.  Elias asked “Why doesn’t anybody help him if he’s hungry? We should help him!”  Lane and I both began tearing up as we looked at one another-were thinking the exact same thing. We pulled over to the nearest store.

As we waited in the parking lot, I told Elias that he was right, and that we could, and therefore, should help this man by buying some healthy food to eat. Elias was now excited to help. My husband came out of the store with 4 bags containing milk, water, fruit and sandwiches. We headed back for the boulevard where we knew the young man would still be standing. We pulled over this time up beside him and approached him the bags of food and water.  The young man was definitely shocked to see us for a second time.

When he saw the bags of food, a look of absolute disbelief came over him-there was emotion in his eyes. We exchanged some words and ended it with “God bless you” his eyes were expressive and full of gratitude.  The moment was completely life changing for me. Even though we could not totally fix his situation, we hope that we made a change in his life and heart in that moment. In that moment, we realized that one simple, yet caring decision to help; one gesture of recognition can open the hearts of many. God helped to change our hearts by providing us an opportunity to help this young man.

Not only was this a wonderful experience for Lane and I, but it served as a great learning experience for my 5 year old son.  Through that experience, I believe his little heart grew, as he found compassion for someone who he didn’t even know.

As we drove back to the hotel, Elias said, “Mommy God’s love is shining on us for that isn’t it?” I turned around to nod “yes” to him, but he had a smile on his face from ear to ear! He knew the answer already.  I was filled with joy, contentment and glory! It was at that moment that I decided that I wanted to contribute more.

I decided to donate my client tips for the entire month of September.  I expected it to be about $200 at the most, but once people heard about the cause that I was supporting, people got very generous!  I managed to raise nearly $500…thanks to my caring clients.  

I pray that this donation will touch the lives of the young people who come to Covenant House in need of some extra love and support. 

Sincerely,
Christine Columbine