The basics: Kit Macdonald, 34, of Fresno works in the human resources department of the Fresno County Office of Education and seasonally as a data transcriber for the Internal Revenue Service.
What she does: On Christmas Day, Macdonald hits the streets of Fresno at 4 a.m. to deliver survival kits to the homeless living under bridges, street ramps and awnings. The kits are backpacks filled with a coat, blanket, pillow and 33 other small items such as toiletries, utensils and snacks. She collects items year-round and for the last three years has accepted donations from the public. The delivery, now in its 13th year, takes her about three hours to complete.
Why she does it: “I can’t imagine how it must feel to think you don’t matter to anybody,” Macdonald said. For most of them, the kits probably don’t matter, but it could change something for one person, she said. “It might give them momentum to do something better. This kit kind of gives them that leg up to go get clean, take a shower or shave their face.”
The turning point: Macdonald was sitting at a bus stop in 2001 wondering how she was going to buy Christmas presents for her family. She was broke and working two jobs as a bartender and delivering pizza. Then, a homeless man asked to borrow her ChapStick. She told him he could keep it. He thanked her and said it was like winning the lottery. After that meeting, she decided to give things to homeless people instead of buying gifts for the holidays.
Details, details: The first year, Macdonald gave away 10 small lunch sacks and coats. Some years she only did a couple bags. The year Macdonald was diagnosed with cancer, she only pulled one pack together. Three years ago, at the urging of a friend, Macdonald started accepting donations from the public and her cause has exploded. She plans to get nonprofit status next year.
What others say: “She is the most giving, funny, person,” said friend Karla Walker. “She is just an all-around good-hearted person. She doesn’t even think twice about it.”
— BoNhia Lee