The power of kindness and community has once again been demonstrated in the heartwarming story of an Ontario woman who hired a homeless man to work on her farm.
Danielle MacDuff, a resident of Newcastle, was struck by the sight of Brian Bannister, a man experiencing homelessness, reading a book and collecting change. After a 25-minute conversation, MacDuff offered Bannister a job on her farm, which he gratefully accepted.
“It floored me. It just came from the heart with her and I got to thank her every day.”
Bannister, who was living in a shed, said he had given up on life after overcoming addiction, surviving abuse, and losing two wives, one in a crash, the other to cancer. But MacDuff’s offer to work on her farm came as a ray of hope for him.
For the past three weeks, Bannister has been working on MacDuff’s farm alongside her and other staff members, taking care of hundreds of animals including goats, cows, horses, and dogs. MacDuff says Bannister has been a great help, and has shown kindness and compassion towards her children and animals.
But MacDuff’s kindness did not stop at offering Bannister a job. She got him his first haircut in two years, a phone, and helped him access provincial financial support. She even set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Bannister to have food, clothes, and a hotel room to sleep in. The target was $5,000 CAD, but amazingly it has raised over $9,000 CAD.
MacDuff’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by Bannister, who says he is overwhelmed by the kindness of the community. “It’s overwhelming. I can’t believe anyone would care for me this much,” he said.
MacDuff says she hopes that Bannister’s story will inspire others to show kindness to those in need. “If we could get everyone off the street ideally that would be my one wish, but it takes a lot of people to come together and that is what has happened for Brian. I think that’s why we’ve come so far in such a short time.”