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Former homeless man, now full of money, keep giving to the people who helped him

“I don’t know what I would do with all that money,” he says. “$ 100,000 is a lot for someone like me”

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Charlie Delorme tells me to wait a second. He needs to check his bank book to confirm what his current bank balance is, as he’s been writing a lot of big checks lately and, he says, he’s not done writing them yet.

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Mr. Delorme is on a wave of donations, a goodwill frenzy, donating money to every organization in Yellowknife that he believes in. Center. Every time Mr. Delorme leaves his front door and walks downtown – his nickname is Downtown Charlie – it looks like someone in Yellowknife takes the money while everyone ends up smiling, including the guy who gives money.

He’s growing 65, this guy, has sore, arthritic knees and isn’t going to live forever and have all the money in the world – his balance is $ 100,000, he finally says – doesn’t make a difference if you don’t. not. do something when you can and, the way Downtown Charlie sees it, now he can.

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“I don’t know what I would do with all that money,” he said. “$ 100,000 is a lot for someone like me. “

By “someone like me” he means someone who has spent almost 40 years living on the streets. Mr. Delorme’s voice seems torn and weary of a life of alcohol, and his memory can be blurry in places and, in the pictures, he’s not exactly the most photogenic. And yet his greatest gift to Yellowknife, to all of us, even more than the money he gave, could be Charlie himself.

There is a common narrative, here we go, about the lucky types who win big in the lottery and then, a few years later, balk after blowing their fortunes on bad decisions. Mr. Delorme recently received a settlement from the federal government for his years in residential schools. His first impulse was not to go straight to the nearest bar to buy a round of drinks, but to go to the CIBC Yellowknife to open an account and request a checkbook.

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He has since signed checks.

“I had nothing when I was little,” says Delorme. “And when I got the money, not that long ago, I thought I could do something right. And I was alone too, eh. And when I gave the money to the youth house they were having a pancake breakfast with eggs and sausage and they said to me, ‘Hey Charlie, why don’t you come and have our breakfast ? ‘

“Young people have always treated me very well.

Garry Hubert, Executive Director of the Sidedoor Youth Center, explains that Mr. Delorme’s generosity predates his new fortune. He tells me the story of a funeral reception in the basement of the local Catholic church. It was a potluck. Charlie walked in and walked over to the tables filled with baked goods and casseroles and put down a can of hearty beef stew.

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“It’s Charlie,” said Mr. Hubert. “He had nothing, but he did his best with what he had.”

He had nothing, but he did his best with what he had

Now he has $ 100,000 in the bank. When he donated $ 5,000 to The Salvation Army, his only request was for the staff to prepare a top notch supper – “a steak with all the garnishes” – for the residents. (Charlie prefers hot dogs and burgers.)

He tells me he’s always worked on something. Take care of people’s lawns, shovel snow, pick up bottles and cans, do some sort of labor to collect enough money to pay for the next bottle, for the next can of soup. But this winter in Yellowknife, her rent has already been paid. There’s a roof over his head, hot dogs in the fridge, and an itchy sensation in his feet to walk out, again, to the bank.

“I will then give $ 5,000 to the Catholic Church,” said Mr. Delorme. “There’s only one priest here, and he’s still working so hard.

“Seems to me he could use some help.”

National post

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