7-year-old donates birthday money to Downtown Eastside mission
Jonathan Glasgow and Kendra Mangione, CTV Vancouver
Published Saturday, November 26, 2016 4:03PM PST
While most kids celebrate their birthdays with a party and presents, a 7-year-old Port Coquitlam boy spent his special day in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Riker Klym didn't ask for toys or games for his birthday this year. Instead, he asked his friends for money.
The young philanthropist gathered $85 from his friends, then had his mother drive him and his sisters to one of Metro Vancouver's most in-need neighbourhoods.
Klym presented all of his money to staff at the Union Gospel Mission, a Christian organization that provides meals, shelter, outreach and other programs to those in need in B.C.
"I want to give the love of Jesus to other people who don't know it, and give money to people who don't have homes," he told CTV Vancouver on Friday.
When Klym walked inside, staff had gathered to wish him happy birthday, blowing horns and holding a banner. Using a marker, the boy too young for a bank account signed his first giant cheque.
Staff thanked him for his generosity and gave him a tour of the facility.
The boy met UGM's head chef, and seemed in awe of the size of the building's kitchen.
"We do meals for about 750 people," a staff member told Klym during the tour.
"Each meal is $3.29. You're supplying enough for 25 people to have a meal, so that's awesome."
Klym's mother, Lisa, said he'd told her that he has more than he needs, so he wanted to share with people.
"He just wanted to help people who didn't have as much as he had," she said.
The pint-sized donor also met some of the women he helped, who thanked him and gave him hugs.
"You have a good heart," Danielle McKenzie told him.
Another explained to him they were at the mission to get better, so they could go back to their families.
"Kids follow each other, so it's nice to see a kid doing something positive," Donna Hall said.
"We see too much negative in the world, so it's kind of cool to see him setting a trend with his little friends and stuff. Hopefully it spreads really fast."
She said she imagines that he'll go on to do great things as he grows up.
Klym's donation is part of a tradition he started at his last birthday, and plans to carry on to his next.
When asked what he planned to do for his eighth birthday, he told CTV's Jonathan Glasgow: "The same thing I did for my seventh."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Jonathan Glasgow