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Money Empty Stocking Fund: House fire burns out Abbotsford dad's savings and Christmas spirit

14:20  13 december  2019
14:20  13 december  2019 Source:   theprovince.com

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The woman died in the fire . Harrison, who was pulled out by a neighbour, suffered a fractured Two months ago, Harrison found a basement suite in Abbotsford . He’ s still trying to scrounge up 0 for the Harrison will be attending a Christmas banquet organized by the Salvation Army on Friday.

The Empty Stocking Fund is started by a small group of employees of The Atlanta Georgian, the predecessor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Empty Stocking Fund joins forces with the Atlanta Junior Chamber of Commerce, who take on the responsibility of conducting the annual drive.

a man and a woman standing in front of a house: Derek Harrison and daughter Emily. Harrison lost his rental home earlier this summer in a house fire that killed his neighbour in the unit upstairs.© Francis Georgian Derek Harrison and daughter Emily. Harrison lost his rental home earlier this summer in a house fire that killed his neighbour in the unit upstairs.

Derek Harrison will be the first person to tell you he’s no hero, but twice in his life, he’s put his life on the line to help others.

In 2004, he was outside a Surrey pub and stopped a bunch of thugs who were breaking into cars in the parking lot. They hit him with baseball bats, causing a brain injury and seizures that left Harrison unable to work as a cable installer, a job he had held for 18 years.

Earlier this July, disaster struck again.

The home his family had been renting in Maple Ridge went up in flames. He rushed upstairs to try to get another tenant out, but got hit in the chest with an oxygen tank and passed out.

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The Empty Stocking Fund . Bringing joy to their world. The Empty Stocking Fund empowers parents and guardians of children living in poverty by providing them with an opportunity to give their children gifts at Christmas time.

A Christmas stocking is an empty sock or sock-shaped bag that is hung on Saint Nicholas Day or Christmas Eve so that Saint Nicholas (or the related figures of Santa Claus and Father Christmas )

The woman died in the fire. Harrison, who was pulled out by a neighbour, suffered a fractured vertebra and pinched nerve.

“I’m a soft-hearted person. I keep on doing things, and my family is getting pissed off, but I wouldn’t change a damn thing about me,” said the gruff 47-year-old.

The fire also left his family homeless, their belongings — furniture, clothes, personal mementoes — in ashes.

After the 72-hour government assistance ran out, Harrison began using money he had been saving for a down payment to buy a home to keep his family housed in a hotel for $780 a week.

When that money ran out, he and his family — a 13-year-old son, 12-year-old daughter and girlfriend Amanda — pitched a tent on the burnt-out home’s yard, despite having no water or electricity.

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Empty Stocking Fund sparks the giving spirit of the Pikes Peak region to benefit local non-profits serving neighbors in need. The 36th annual Gazette-El Pomar Foundation Empty Stocking Fund provides resources for local health and human service agencies in the Pikes Peak region on the front

Empty Stocking Fund . She credits the Charlotte Fire Department with saving the family cat, and the Red Cross with giving them money enough to stay in a hotel and eat for three days. The name of every person who contributes to the Empty Stocking Fund will be published on this page daily.

He turned to the food bank and other charities for help as a last resort, something he still chafes at.

“I hate it,” he said, describing himself as an independent guy who doesn’t want to put people out.

Two months ago, Harrison found a basement suite in Abbotsford. He’s still trying to scrounge up $550 for the damage deposit.

He was referred to the local Salvation Army, which helped him out with furniture, dishes and some household basics.

Building a new life from scratch has exhausted Harrison’s spirit. The struggle has also taken its toll on his family. The holidays, he said, are the last thing on his mind.

“It’ll just be a Christmas where we can’t afford anything,” he said. “My heart’s just not in it right now. The kids don’t understand that I can’t afford to get them a gift. I got to make sure we have a roof over our heads.”

Harrison will be attending a Christmas banquet organized by the Salvation Army on Friday. He will also receive a Christmas hamper.

The Sally Ann is one of the organizations supported by The Province’s Empty Stocking Fund , which has been raising money to help families in B.C. going through rocky times during the holiday season.

Last year, the fund raised $239,433, thanks to generous readers and corporate sponsors.

It’s much-needed help for Harrison, who feels he’s barely keeping his head above water. “What’s killing me right now is that I just can’t keep up.”

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan

Masked gunman robs two Abbotsford businesses .
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