Woman spreads Xmas joy to homeless

  • 25/12/2010

By Jenny Suo

It’s called the season of giving, but for one woman, it's never been anything else.

Danielle Bergin has been selling Christmas trees for 20 years.

But what used to be for a bit for fun is now to raise money for her homeless shelter.

When she's not finding homes for trees she's finding homes for families.

“Sometimes people can’t pick that you're in desperate need, and they just walk past you on the street, luckily, you just need that one person or two people who can believe in you and see the potential,” Mrs Bergin says.

And she would know. Almost 10 years ago, after her father died and her house was sold, she was homeless herself, and she was having a baby.

“The saddest day of my life was walking out of Middlemore Hospital and knowing it was just me and her, and knowing there was no-one to help you.”

But she says her daughter was her anchor, and when she got on her feet again, she wanted to help others.

She didn't waste any time, after watching a documentary on a kiwi doctor working in Vaunatu, she decided to lend a hand.

Doctor Derek Allen still remembers receiving the letters.

“I’m always very happy another volunteer really wants to try it, and if they can develop love for poor people, that’s my mission in life,” he says.

Mrs Bergin sold Christmas trees and opened an opshop to pay for supplies she was sending to Vanuatu, but she realised people were sleeping outside her store.

So now she runs the island child homeless shelter with her family. They work with the little money they get from tree selling, community grants and the Government.

It's small but the occupants are grateful.

Mrs Bergin wants to one day buy a farm so she can house more people.

“There are so many people who need so much help. We're not rescuers, we're doers,” she says.

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source: newshub archive