She Invited a Homeless Man For Dinner – Now Her Crowdfunding Has Secured Her New Friend a Tiny Home
When you see a homeless person on the street, do you ignore them? Hand them some spare change? Direct them to the nearest social service center?
One Canadian woman went even further than that. At the time, she may not have realized the profound impact her simple act of kindness might have, but her compassion has had life-changing repercussions.
Kim Cormier was working outside her Kingston, Ontario home when David McDonald’s scooter blew a tire. Even though he was a stranger, she agreed to keep an eye on his stuff so it wouldn’t get stolen while he went to fetch a new inner-tube.
When McDonald got back from his errand, not only were his things still there, Cormier invited him in for supper. Over the meal, McDonald, Cormier, and her partner Andrew Embury fell into an easy—if unexpected—camaraderie that was the start of what’s become a beautiful friendship.
For McDonald, the road to homelessness began in 2010 when he suffered a series of personal and financial reverses. The gas station he owned went under. Soon after, his truck and his home followed. Then he and his long-term partner broke up.
By 2016, McDonald was homeless and living in a Toronto park. “I couldn’t imagine being homeless. I cried,” McDonald told CBC. “And so it was hard for me to accept help… charity.”
While McDonald does receive a financial stipend from the government, he declined homeless services because he says “other people are worse off” than him and needed them more.
From that Toronto park, McDonald bounced around, staying with relatives when he could, finally ending up in a one-bedroom shared apartment. But faced with daily dangers of theft and threats of violence, he found himself back on the streets—dividing his days between a tent and a derelict transportation trailer.
In the ensuing months, McDonald and Cormier stayed in touch. She and her partner began helping McDonald out with donations of clothing, shoes, and a solar-powered backpack that enabled him to keep his cell phone charged.
Eventually, the couple told McDonald he was welcome to set up quarters in their backyard. Thanks to a sister, McDonald got a new tent equipped with a mattress, couch, and a refrigerator.
An outdoor fireplace has been serving as McDonald’s impromptu kitchen and he’s been given restroom and laundry privileges inside the house.
But since the tent was only suited for three seasons, Cormier came up with a plan to provide McDonald with a more permanent shelter to keep him warm in the winter as well.
With a goal of $18,000, Cormier launched an online fundraiser to buy McDonald his own tiny house.
“We are trying to raise as much money as possible to help take the financial burden off ourselves and David’s monthly contribution from collecting aluminum cans and his ODSP monthly housing allowance,” she explained on the campaign’s GoFundMe page.
“Once we have paid off the full price of the micro home the ownership will be transferred into David’s name and he will finally own his own home again. Our long-term goal is for David to own his micro-home and move it to a forever spot that he can live and regain a sense of independence again.”
The response—including a single donation for $2,500 from a caring Samaritan—was so overwhelming that the total amount was soon raised. McDonald’s micro-house is set to be delivered before the cold weather sets in.
While the brand-new tiny home can be transported anywhere, Cormier says that since she considers McDonald “part of the family,” he can stay as long as he likes.
For McDonald, the measure of Cormier’s generosity isn’t about material things, it’s about the value of being treated with human dignity and respect.
“You have to swallow your pride when you’re homeless,” he told CBC. “She’s done more than I can ever say thank you for.”