Big-hearted boy steps in to help food bank
Daily News Staff Reporter
When nine-year-old Christian Beatty returns to Juniper Elementary school in the fall, he'll have a unique answer to the routine question: "What did you do on your summer vacation?"
"I helped the food bank," he says.
That's a bit of an understatement.
The nine-year-old launched a food drive that collected 500 kilograms of non-perishable items and $1,000 in cash in just two days.
The idea came to him a mere two days earlier on Thursday when a Kamloops Food Bank building was set ablaze by a suspected arsonist. The fire ruined as much as 5,000 kilograms of food worth about $20,000.
Christian said he felt compelled to help.
"I know what would it feel like if someone burned down the food bank," said Christian. "I used this food bank as well. So I thought of helping out my family and other families that use it as well. And by doing what I did, my family and other families have enough to eat."
Christian made signs and, with the help of mom Nicole Dill, organized a food drive outside the Juniper Market and the Sahali Superstore on Sunday and Monday over the long weekend.
The events were so successful that the family intends to make the food drive an annual event.
Dill says her son's desire to give to others is innate.
"When he's at school and wins something, he'll pick something out for his baby sister and bring the prize home for her," she said. "So he's a very giving boy."
Dill chokes up when she talks about the pride she has in her son and the gratitude she has for a community that enabled Christian's desire to help.
"He's nine years old and his goal and dream has been met. And now he knows he can do stuff like this. Especially kids that are seeing this right now, they know that kids can help with everybody helping out. It's very emotional."
It's not only other children being inspired.
Christian's success also spurred the three Kamloops Scotiabank branches to get into the charitable act with their own $5,000 donation.
Scotiabank routinely contributes to community endeavours but is not a regular contributor to the food bank, said Sahali branch manager Kevin Rains.
The decision was made to donate the funds after local and regional managers saw the news coverage, he said.
Rains dropped off the cheque to Food Bank executive director Bernadette Siracky just as Christian was delivering his massive load on Tuesday morning with the help of a rental van donated by National Car Rental.
"This young man is inspirational," said Rains while handing over the cheque to an astonished Siracky.
"I'm absolutely shocked. This is so unexpected, wow," she said.
Christian was also pleased to hear about the ripples of his efforts, but he also had a deeper thought.
"I think it was generous of them," he said. "But just because someone set the food bank on fire and I stepped up doesn't mean they shouldn't have done it before that happened."
Out of the mouths of babes.