Emergency crews who went door-to-door in Lumby and Lavington on Tuesday night encountered many acts of generosity, but one donation of 25 cents stood out from all the rest.
Kai McColl, a Kindergartner, walked up to police officers and paramedics as they were collecting in his neighbourhood and handed them a quarter, telling them he would like it to go to the food bank.
The first responders were floored by young McColl’s donation: not because it was sizable but because it was all the money he had. They were amazed a kid his age could happily donate to a cause much bigger than himself.
“He literally was the talk of the event from the perspective of all the first responders who were there,” RCMP traffic officer Gary McLaughlin said, who started the Emergency Services Fight Back against Hunger five years ago.
“We were at the fire hall there and all these people are running up to me, saying ‘you’ve got to see this picture of this little guy!’”
McLaughlin was so affected by the boy’s gesture and the reaction it elicited from the crew members that he decided to organize a surprise for the boy at his Kindergarten class the next day.
“I started talking to a bunch of my buddies that all work around here — police, fire and ambulance people — and said let’s all just show up at a school tomorrow.”
At 1 p.m. on Thursday McLaughlin along with members of the RCMP, BC Paramedics, Lavington Fire and Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick went to McColl’s classroom to personally thank him, and to talk to his class about the importance of the food bank.
Judging by McLaughlin’s description, McColl’s reaction was priceless.
“There were some tears from the grownups in the room, and he was just beaming from ear to ear.”
“In my career, it’s one of the best examples of kindness I’ve seen.” McLaughlin said. “To him that 25 cents was a million dollars and he decided to give that to people less fortunate.”
More than 6,000 pounds of food and $2,500 in cash donations were raised during the Tuesday night walk. The drive has become the largest single event supporting the Lumby food bank. With the contributions from last night, the program has raised 31,000 pounds of food and $12,500 in five years.
“We could not do this without the generosity of people in our area,” Lumby and District Fire Department Chief Tony Clayton said. “I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to every resident we spoke with and every person that donated food or money. This will directly help out your neighbours and your community.”