A five-year-old girl gave her heart to a homeless man in Oliver last week.
Kristina Fry was playing in a park with her father Steven Fry when she saw a man reading a book.
She noticed that he didn’t have any gloves, and his blanket had holes in it. She then told her dad that the man needed gloves. Steven asked her if she wanted to buy the man some gloves, She wholeheartedly agreed.
So they went to The Bargain Shop and bought him two pairs, a toque, blanket and duffle bag on wheels.
They returned to the park and Kristina proudly rolled the duffle bag over to the man.
“He was happy, he was trying to read a book,” Kristina said. “I think he was very cold, so I wanted to buy him gloves . . . and I (also) buyed [sic]him a new blanket.”
Kristina told the Chronicle that it made her feel good to help someone in need; to be a friend, like her mother always said.
Steven said his daughter’s thoughtfulness makes him very happy.
Kristina’s grandfather, Brian Fry, said the gesture brought a tear to his eye.
Bargain Shop employee Sue Fischer gave Kristina a hug for what she did.
“It just made my day.”
However, Fischer expressed her concern about the lack of a homeless shelter in Oliver.
“The closest one is Penticton. How can they not have anything in Oliver? There’s no place to get warm.”
Food bank volunteer and outreach worker Jo Tanner said she doesn’t know why there is no shelter here.
“I am aware of seven homeless here, which truly breaks my heart.”
Tanner said she tries to meet the needs of these people, but she is only one person. “I wish I had the answer.”
Tanner, who started her outreach four years ago, hopes that local churches can step up to the plate to meet these needs.
Mark and Rae Pankratz from Life Church spent 24 hours on the streets of Penticton to get a sense of how homeless people live. They handed out clothing and other necessities.
“We couldn’t imagine staying on the street again. We were tired and sore. It was overwhelming,” Mark said.
Rae said Penticton has a 10-bed men’s shelter with two beds allocated to women. It is run by the Salvation Army.
During a cold snap one church called Cheers opens its doors to the homeless, Rae noted.
She said a shelter in Oliver has been on her mind lately. “Something definitely to bring up for discussion for both churches and service organizations and even the community centre. I will bring it up when we meet as a ministerial next.”