The St. Pierre family celebrates their birthdays a little differently than most.
On mom Sue’s birthday last December, they took the money they would normally spend on a party and put it toward bags, food, clothing and personal hygiene items, then made care packages for the homeless of Victoria.
At the end of this month, they’ll do the same for daughter Kylie’s 18th birthday.
The family is gathering items for distribution next Saturday and will be making fresh sandwiches and vegetable bundles to go along with the non-perishables and clothing, toiletries and personal hygiene products they’ve accumulated.
“We just put it all together into individual bags and park downtown and wander the streets giving them to people we find sleeping in doorways and alleys, or anyone who just looks like they might need a little help,” Sue says.
It’s just a way to give back to the community that has allowed for them to have a comfortable life, she adds.
“We all know people who are less fortunate,” Sue says, “and it feels great to do something like this for some of them. You can see the gratitude written all over their faces, and it really makes you realize how lucky you are to be able to help.”
“They’re so kind and so thankful when you give them stuff,” she says. “They’re so nice and so grateful. It feels really good. It’s not much to people who have enough, but to them it’s everything.”
Giving back in this way is something she’s been missing in her life since she started secondary school.
“We used to do it through school all the time (at Dunsmuir middle school), but they don’t really do any of that in high school. I just felt like I hadn’t done something to give back for a while.”
And now that she’s decided to resume giving back, she plans to continue this new tradition.
“I think I want to do it every birthday now,” Kylie says. “Maybe not as big as we’re doing it this year, but I think we should get a group together and do it at least once a year.”
Anyone who would like to help the cause can call Sue at 250-896-5764 to find out how to get involved. Items can also be dropped off at 3360 Summerhill Cres. – just drop them off at the door if nobody’s around, Sue says – and they will make sure they get added to the care packages.
Particularly needed is men’s clothing – Kylie has all sisters, so they’re a bit lacking in men’s wear – and the family will gladly accept grocery items or gift cards to help them shop for fresh food closer to the day.