An Edmonton neighbourhood is on a mission to find a permanent home for a young man in need before Christmas.
Carolyn Yewchuk and her daughter Madison Feehan first heard about Keith on Facebook. They read a message that made them incredibly sad.
“We first heard about Keith’s story from a friend of a friend who had posted a story about him meeting Keith on Facebook,” Madison said. “He was explaining how he had seen Keith on the side of the road and some very selfish young men had been yelling obscenities at him and throwing change at him. It was just terrible.”
“By the time we were done reading it, we were just in tears,” Carolyn said.
“We looked at each other, my daughter and I, and we just said, ‘We have to help this young man.'”
They created a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising $10,000 before Christmas.
“That will go towards finding housing for Keith, medical supplies, helping him with getting an education, if that’s what he would like,” Madison said. “He’s working on his apprenticeship so if anyone in the scaffolding business had a place open for hire, that would be really incredible.”
On the GoFundMe page, their friend Michael Scott MacDonald describes his encounter with Keith. He stopped at an Edmonton intersection after witnessing the group yell at him.
“He’s 19 years old and lost his dad to cancer when he was 16 and never knew his mom. He’s originally from Fort McMurray and lost his home in the wildfires.
“He is diabetic and stands there because that’s the closest spot to the pharmacy that stays open the latest that will fill his prescription from day to day.
“He can only get his prescription on a day-to-day basis due to stipulations for the homeless because it needs to be kept at the proper temperature. Once he gets enough cash to walk to the pharmacy and pay for his medication, he walks to the Gateway Motel… but only if he has the $80 cash for a room. Then he does the same thing all over again the next day,” Michael wrote.
Together, Carolyn, Madison and Michael are determined to help.
“We’re reaching out to everyone in the community if they can donate supplies, whether it’s toiletries, kitchen supplies, furniture and whatnot, and we can focus on leaving the money set aside for his medical needs — being diabetic, it’s very costly — and for rent, damage deposit, utilities,” Carolyn said.
“We’re trying to build him some type of a platform, a good, strong, solid foundation so that he can get a few steps ahead.”
They’re spreading the word about the campaign on social media platforms and also using a new private neighourhood app.
“Social media has been a really good platform. Our wonderful community website Nextdoor has been phenomenal,” Carolyn said. “We know we have a bunch of wonderful families here in Laurier Heights and we know many people in this community and we know people would be willing to reach out and help.”
They’re hopeful this story encourages others to show empathy and kindness.
“It doesn’t take much to take somebody under your wing and tell them, ‘Hey it’s OK, we’ve got you. We’re there for you. We’ll help you.’ It’s easier than people realize,” Carolyn said.
“In this dark and negative world, we’re just so divided right now… We just want to say, people, there’s so much love to give and to spread, so please do.”