Local boy donates stockings full of gifts to elderly for Christmas
Thursday, Jan 09, 2014 12:18 pm
In Dec. 24, 2013, Ty Harbour, a nine-year-old Grade 3 student from Ralph McCall School, went to Cedarwood Station Retirement Residence with five stockings filled with gifts to donate to residents who would not be spending Christmas with their families.
“I think it’s really cool giving people stuff and making them feel good,” Harbour said. “It makes my heart feel good inside.”
The little Santa Claus came up with the idea to give back a few weeks before Christmas, while he was out running errands with his mom Jennifer.
He told her he knew what he wanted for Christmas and Jennifer, who had already completed most of her Christmas shopping, was a little worried he’d add on more items to his wish list. Instead, Harbour told his mom he wanted to make a donation for the holidays.
“I was just thrilled he wanted to give to others,” Jennifer said, adding her work in a not-for-profit organization has exposed her children to the idea of giving back.
Originally, Harbour wanted to raise $1,000 to donate to the Alberta Children’s Hospital but time constraints made him reconsider. After talking with Jennifer about her 93-year-old grandmother in Ontario, Harbour decided to donate to seniors who may not have their families nearby to support them and be with them over the holidays.
With that, Harbour gathered the birthday money he received in November and with a little extra help from his parents, he set out with $40 to fill five stockings.
“I just wanted to give people something who didn’t have family for Christmas,” Harbour said of why he made the donation. “I gave time to them and stockings with presents in them.”
When Harbour presented the gifts to the five seniors, selected with help of Cedarwood Station staff who determined which residents would be without family over Christmas, he stayed and visited with them and told them why he made the donation.
“I wanted to give them time to remember what a family is like,” he said. “They were happy and a little bit surprised because they didn’t know I was doing this.”
Kim Magarvey, lifestyles manager at Cedarwood Station, said the donation and time Harbour spent visiting with the residents was amazing.
“They were just blown away,” she said. “It lit them right up.”
The following week, Harbour was invited back by one of the residents who had seen him giving to the five other seniors and presented him with a model airplane.
“It was very, very cool because I love airplanes,” Harbour said.
The resident, who was in the Air Force, allowed Harbour to try on his old bomber jacket and told him stories about his past.
“Ty was thrilled because he really wants to be a pilot when he grows up,” Jennifer said.
She added the family will definitely do something like this again next year.
“I am really impressed with him and really proud that he was putting others before himself,” she said.
“It makes you feel good and if you (make a donation) you’d feel very good like me,” Harbour said.