Seven-year-old wants to help

joshua-tree-project

Joshua Smith has helped homeless people for two years. He is seven years old.
Photo by Wayne Leidenfrost/The Vancouver Sun

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun by Nila Gopaul

Joshua Smith is only seven years old.
But he plans to feed over 500 homeless people
this Christmas Eve.
Joshua and his mother, Traci Smith, have helped
feed homeless people for two years.

“He’s an average kid,” says his mother.
“He’s bratty. He’s sassy.
Doesn’t want to do his homework.”
He’s no different than any other child.
But something changed Joshua.
Something affected him.

Two years ago
Two years ago, Joshua and his mother went
to Vancouver’s Santa Claus Parade.
They walked to the SkyTrain.
Then, Joshua saw a man lying down.
The man was on a sidewalk grate to keep warm.
It was a very cold day.

“Why is he doing that?” asked Joshua.
“Well, because he doesn’t have a home,”
answered Joshua’s mother.
“That’s not possible,” said Joshua.

Sidewalk grate Photo by thegirlsmom/CC, Flickr

A sidewalk grate
Photo by thegirlsmoma/CC, Flickr

A question
Joshua asked his mother a question.
Can Santa Claus help?
His mother answered “No.
Santa was too busy with the children.”
“Well, what are we going to do about it?” asked Joshua.
And the Joshua Tree Project began.
In 2012, mother and son made 150 lunches
for homeless people.
In 2013, they handed out 350 lunches.

People love Joshua
Homeless people smile when they see Joshua.
One scary man got down on one knee.
He took off his glasses.
“Hey, what you got there? Peanut butter sandwiches?”
“No, meat and cheese.
My mom said it should be the best,” says Joshua.
The man started to cry, says Joshua’s mother.
Joshua’s sandwiches are made with love
and care.

Some businesses are helping

  • Cactus Club in Delta offered to make 500 servings
    of vegetables and dip.
  • Nesters Market is donating fruit to the project.
  • Staff at Save-On Foods at Cambie Street
    want to help.
  • Frogbox will lend plastic containers
    to protect the food.

“There are two types of people,” says Joshua’s mother.
— the people who walk towards homelessness and want to help and
— the people who ignore the problem.

Click here to see photos of Joshua and his mother.
Click here if you would like to help Joshua and his mom

feed 500 people this Christmas eve.