This Family

Five-year-old Mowgli loves dinosaurs.

His three-year-old brother, Milan, absolutely adores farm animals.

They are both autistic.

Actually, while we were searching for them, little Milan was at the Glenrose Hospital in Edmonton with his Momma and was officially diagnosed with Severe Autism on Wednesday.

This was a very difficult day for Mom.

This means both of her boys will have a hard time with social skills that most of us take for granted. They will have a difficult time recognizing and expressing emotions, and intentions.

They may have behaviors that can be hard for us to understand...repetitive motions with objects, extreme interests in lights, obsession with patterns.

Learning speech, making eye contact, reading facial expressions, and understanding tone of voice are so hard.

Right now, little Milan is nonverbal and does not engage in eye communication.

He’s in his own little world and seeking emotional comfort is something he may never do.

These little boys will have to be specially guided, for life.

We go to meet them and notice that the front door has been stuffed with paper envelopes and rags. 

This is to keep out the cold air. 

They live in a house that was built in 1974. The furnace in the basement is original and quite frankly, it is not keeping the house warm enough as it continues to break down. The old front door is falling apart and no longer aligned in its frame.

Mom and Dad were married 2006

After years of working on visas between India and Canada, travel documents, and citizenship paperwork, they were finally reunited in 2013 and settled here in our area.

Tell me about the boys! Tell me about yourselves! Where do they go to school?

We walk Milan to his child therapy school (across town) in a stroller, but sometimes we can’t get there because it’s just too cold for him.

You walk him across town?

Yes. We do not have a vehicle.

How do you get to work?

I ride my bike, yes. It is ok!

So. You ride your bike, through the snow and freezing wind, at 10:00pm every night?

Yes. This is ok! But my restaurant is closing at 10:00pm on Friday (tonight) and not reopening now because of the Covid pandemic.

As of tonight, this chef will have no job. 

I want to hire him too. His smile lights up his eyes behind his mask. He is obviously a hard worker and willing to do anything for his wife and boys.

How do you get groceries?

We walk with the stroller. Or call a cab if we have the money.

We can’t even comprehend this. How do you live in this area without a vehicle? We do not have a big enough bus system. No underground trains. Cabs are expensive. Bikes and feet can only get you so far.

I’m freezing cold just thinking about this. 

Full of dread actually. This is happening here.

To be totally honest, we have ditched our originally planned Giving Back day that was supposed to be today, to help out this family, after another teacher asked for help.

This cannot wait another 365 days.

Over the last 12 Days of Giving Back the most miraculous things have been happening here at the shop! Besides a mountain of bedding and towels that have showed up for Copper Sky Lodge, and a huge outpouring for Day #1, This Girl, we have had even more than that.

Local businesses and community citizens have been sending us money.

Here, please, take this. 

We know you will find the right family. 

You know what to do. 

We trust you.

$2 $5 $250 $1000 $5000

This inspires me, we can do more.

I can do better. 

This is too big now for just me.

Everyone is helping. Thank you for lifting the load.

We have, TOGETHER, bought this family a VEHICLE!!!

A family van, with car seats installed. Driver training for both Mom and Dad. A year of vehicle insurance. Gift certificates for vehicle maintenance at a locally owned shop.

I ask Milan and Mowgli’s Mom and Dad.

Have you ever been to the Tri Leisure Centre to go swimming? No.

Have you ever been to the movie theatre? No.

Have you ever been skating? No.

Have you been to the Zoo with your children? No.

Have you ever been on a date night? No.

Of course not. You have almost no money, and your door is stuffed with papers trying to keep you warmer at night. You can’t even drive around and see the beautiful Christmas Lights in your town with your babies.

We think you are doing an AMAZING job right now with these two little boys, we want you to know that you are such good parents

If you would like to contribute more to this particular family, I can tell you the money will be handled between us, the family’s social worker, and teachers that work directly with Milan. Your money will go towards a new furnace, a fence for the backyard to keep the boys from running into danger. It will go towards bedroom furniture, grocery gift cards, gas cards, and a longer period of vehicle insurance.

It will help get Milan to school every day so that he can learn the tools to navigate his little life.

It will go towards peace of mind for these amazing parents and beautiful boys.

AND… it might go towards a date night for Mom and Dad since the teachers have offered to babysit!! 

I ask the boys parents, what do you like about Stony Plain AB?

They look at each other and agree immediately. 

The people here always look after each other. Always.

Their support workers and teachers are standing there with tears streaming down their faces. They brought this situation to us. They absolutely adore these little boys. They will continue to help us with this family, thank you for watching out for them.

Mom is tearing up and Dad is stunned, but we can see in their eyes the joy and relief that this vehicle will bring them.

Little Milan says E-I-E-I-OOOOOO, the only words he currently speaks.

Always stay humble and kind.

Merry Christmas

~Amanda & Trevor Wilhauk
Wilhauk Beef Jerky Ltd. Spruce Grove