Human kind was blessed with compassion, and although we don’t always exercise this gift, people step up when tragedy strikes.
It’s been said that the worst situations bring out our best, and I can attest to that after witnessing the flood of support for a close friend of mine who lost her home on Monday night.
A group of us were playing trivia when my friend Mikayla received a phone call from her dad saying that her house was sinking. She and her brother live with their dad on an old transport boat from the 1940’s south of Vancouver on the Fraser River. Mikayla jumped out of her seat and fled the restaurant, closely followed by a friend of ours whose immediate reaction was to follow her and help.
The next morning I discovered that at 2am her home had been completely submerged, but thanks to my friend Kieran coaching her through the process, Mikayla was able to salvage her personal items before the boat went under.
I spoke to her that afternoon, and through her desperate tears she told me she was cooped up in her dad’s girlfriend’s two bedroom apartment with five people. Offering up my home was a no brainier, and then setting up a fundraising site to collect donations from those wanting to lend support was the obvious next step.
Since Monday night Mikayla has been inundated with calls from people offering their thoughts and prayers, a place to stay, food and clothing, plus access to a shower and laundry. Over 40 people have collectively donated over $2,500, and most of these people are earning just over minimum wage working two jobs to afford living in Vancouver. With only one week until Christmas and the extortionate costs for retrieving the boat from the bottom of the river, this financial assistance is invaluable to Mikayla and her family, and I’m hoping that over the next few days that total will creep even higher.
When I told Mikayla about the donations, she fell to her hands and knees on my kitchen floor and wept, saying her heart isn’t big enough to accept all the love she’s receiving. I bent down and held her hands, and explained that we are the ones who have been blessed with the opportunity to help her. People thrive on being good, on the satisfaction of contributing to something greater than themselves. I said that her challenge, above everything else, is to accept the generosity from those who want to help, who are as grateful as I am to be able to make her life just that little bit easier.
Though you may not know Mikayla personally, if you’d like to make a donation, your contribution would be greatly appreciated. For most of us it’s hard to imagine what being homeless really feels like, especially one week before Christmas during one of Vancouver’s coldest recorded Decembers.
This time last year I went searching for a way to lend support to others over Christmas. This year the opportunity found me.