When Sooke resident Emily Zschau gave a homeless Victoria man $50 last week, people looked at her as if she was showing off or trying to get attention.
On the contrary, it was an action from her heart, not her wallet.
“I saw the man crying, it just broke my heart, so I did something about it,” Zschau said, adding that was her cue to make a difference this holiday season for the homeless.
With winter coming, her plan is to gather as many warm clothes as possible, such as jackets, scarves, gloves, hats and socks for the homeless.
“I saw people were shivering because all they had was T-shirt on,” she said, adding that’s all the perspective she needed. “When you return to your warm house with a fireplace, it’s always a realization of what you take for granted every day.”
For Zschau, that realization of how the holiday season really is for others out there came last year, when she and her family went to the Mustard Seed Foundation in Victoria – at that point she saw the homeless situation for what it truly was.
In addition to clothing, Zschau said people can also donate coffee gift cards, as it keeps the donation cost low and the end result relatively positive.
“If you give them money, they could spend it on something wrong, so I want to help them in a positive way, not encourage their bad habits,” she said.
Born and raised in Germany, Zschau, 18, currently volunteers at a crisis hotline, and hoping to pursue that, as well as child abuse counselling, as a career.
With her friends and family supporting her initiative, she hopes that this year the local community will come through and help her make a difference this Christmas.