Five-year-old Tate Parker is collecting 51 sleeping bags to hand out to Victoria's homeless on Christmas eve.

Five-year-old Tate Parker is collecting 51 sleeping bags to hand out to Victoria's homeless on Christmas eve.

West Shore merchants join sleeping bag campaign

Victoria kindergarten student leading the charge to collect and distribute 51 bags

A Fairfield boy who is collecting sleeping bags for Victoria’s homeless is hoping to enlist the help of fellow kindergarteners to distribute them on Christmas Eve.

Five-year-old Tate Parker has collected more than 100 sleeping bags from people across Greater Victoria, surpassing his original goal of 51, in the past two weeks.

Langford’s Canadian Tire store donated 20 brand new sleeping bags to the cause. “I thought it was a really great idea, a young kid taking that kind of initiative,” said general manager Darren Jones. “It just shows that someone so small can do such a little thing that encourages other people to step up.”

The Canadian Tire in View Royal also donated 31 sleeping bags.

“We’ve completely shattered our dreams about thinking we can do more than a dozen sleeping bags. It’s turned into something much larger,” said Tate’s father Neil. “Tate said to me, ‘Dad, it’s cold. When is Christmas Eve’? People have been inspired.”

Once a week, Tate and his family walk to Beacon Hill Park, where they feed the ducks, explore the park and often encounter people sleeping in tents. Last month the youngster set a goal of collecting 51 sleeping bags (the amount of money he had in his piggy bank) to distribute to people camping in Beacon Hill Park, the tent city on Burdett Avenue and other locations on Christmas Eve.

Since then, the family has received new and gently used sleeping bags, money and messages of support from people across Canada and the U.S. Tate is asking fellow kindergarteners to help distribute the packages, which will include a sleeping bag, a pair of socks and food cards. To donate sleeping bags or to get involved email sleepingbagtate@yahoo.com.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com