A 9-year-old boy from Sudbury had his Christmas wish come true on Thursday when he visited The Samaritan Centre to donate gifts for the city’s most vulnerable population.
Stellan Newbury-Hodge, described by his mother as having a heart for those less fortunate, said he was heartbroken when he witnessed the growing tent city in Sudbury’s downtown core.
Using the money saved up in his piggy bank in addition to donations collected from family members and friends, Newbury-Hodge and his mother purchased hats, mitts, neck warmers and Tim Hortons gift cards as gifts for those in need.
Stellan said that he felt happy when he delivered the donations to The Samaritan Centre on Elgin Street downtown because he wants “everybody in the world to have a Christmas.”
“It broke my heart to see the tents because it doesn’t really feel like home," Stellan said. "It made me feel good to donate hats, mitts, and scarves because it’s getting colder outside so they will be able to stay warm.
“Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I wanted to help so they can feel happy, and they can have a Christmas, too.”
Stellan was given a tour of The Samaritan Centre during his visit, and he said that he was happy to see “a big kitchen full of food” and a Christmas tree.
He also has a few ideas about how he will give back to the community in the future.
“When I’m older, I hope that I can save some money that will go only to people who are homeless. Nobody who has a home would be able to touch the money,” he said.
His mother, Della Newbury, said her son has always tried to give back to the community in small ways, but this is the first year they decided to make a larger donation.
“I’m very proud to know that he has a soft heart and a good heart. I think that’s what any parent would want – to see their child have that giving nature and giving spirit,” she said.
“Knowing his heart, I think we will continue to do this every year, and when he’s a bit older, maybe look into opportunities to volunteer at the centre.”
Newbury said she thinks it’s important to care for the city’s most vulnerable because “everyone deserves a chance in life.”
“I’m becoming a little emotional. I was in a situation where I was a single mom, and I had to rely a little bit on the system to help me get through certain times,” she said.
“For me, it reaches to the core of where I was, but also where I am now, because I am not in that situation anymore. To be able to be beyond that and give back is where my heart is.”
Newbury added the Samaritan Centre is always looking for donations from the community, especially for winter clothing and other necessities during this time of year.
“I think we would all like to see the city’s most vulnerable populations have a better chance at life and whatever that entails. That would be ideal,” she said.
“But I think even if I can reach out and help one person, and make that person’s life a little bit better, then I think I’ve done my job.”
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star