There were tears of joy at a Vancouver church this afternoon.
Francesca Murray and her daughter Charlotte thought they were attending a silent auction this weekend to support a friend and celebrate his birthday.
What they didn’t know is that the event was all about helping them get ahead.
Murray met Brice Royer over Craigslist earlier this year, when Royer posted an ad offering undconditional love on Craigslist.
Hundreds of people responded to Royer – who is battling stomach cancer – with their own offers of kindness, and Murray was one of them.
“I noticed he needed someone who could cook. I can cook really well, at least that’s what everybody else tells me,” says Murray.
Her gift was even more surprising because Murray and her 4-year old daughter Charlotte are homeless, and have been living in a shelter for the past 14 months.
“It’s pretty hard. It’s really hard for the kids, because they get uprooted multiple times,” says Murray.
Royer not only turned away her gift, he surprised Murray with free weekly groceries, which she shares with others in the shelter.
But Murray and her daughter have to move out by March – so Royer decided to up his support, by raising funds to give them a place of their own.
Today at the church, he announced the campaign to Murray. Funds from the silent auction will go towards a 300-square foot solar-powered home, without any monthly bills. They’re aiming for $25,000 – $20,000 for a house from Tiny Homes Canada, and $5000 to support her short-term housing needs
“We said let’s do it. So now we’re raising $25,000 to build a tiny home by the end of March for Francesca,” said Royer, who says it’s all about paying it forward.
“This gives me hope, this gives me healing, this give me joy.”
And for Francesca and Charlotte?
“Mom, I think Santa arrived early for me,” said Charlotte.
“I think Santa did too,” replied Francesca, “because now we have a home.”