People Are Honoring The Memory Of A Woman Who Died In The London Attack With Donations To Homeless Shelters

"Please honor her by making your community a better place... Tell them Chrissy sent you."

Christine Archibald, known as "Chrissy" to her family and friends, was visiting her fiancé Tyler Ferguson in London, when she was killed in the terror attack on London Bridge. In the face of this overwhelming personal tragedy, her family is honoring her memory with a universal message of kindness and hope. 


"We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected," the family wrote in an official statement. "She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death." 

The family concluded their statement by encouraging everyone to carry on Archibald's legacy of benevolence: "Please honor her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labor or donate to homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you." 

After the family's statement was shared on social media, it sparked #ChrissySentMe, a Twitter hashtag thousands have since used to honor Archibald's memory and life's work through donations and volunteer pledges. 

One was Mike Morrison, a Canadian author and blogger, who, after hearing the Archibald family's message, donated $100 to Calgary Alpha House, where she worked. "That message from the Archibald family is just something I don't think I'm gonna forget for a long time because I don't know if I could turn around that quickly and say… 'Take this tragedy and make it positive,'" he told A Plus. "I don't know if I could do that, so you have to be inspired by people who are doing that." 

Although a fellow Calgary resident, Morrison didn't know Chrissy. "It still gives me chills to think that some of my friends might have met her or maybe I crossed paths with her and something so tragic happened to someone [so close]... it feels surreal," he said.

He also noted that in Calgary, homeless shelters vary in quality levels, and a person's ability to access them depends on their socio-economic status. "Alpha House [where Archibald worked] is the one that takes everyone, regardless of their condition or anything," he explained. "...It's sort of the most challenging one, and so the people who work there would certainly be presented with very challenging situations. I think that says a lot that she worked there." 

According to Bonnie Elgie, a representative of Alpha House, the organization's main programs include Shelter, Outreach, Detox and Housing. "We provide safe and caring environments for individuals whose lives are affected by alcohol and other drug dependencies," she told A Plus via email. "Our philosophy is to meet people where they are at ensuring that they do not have to earn their right to housing or care."

By tweeting about his donation to his 26,000  followers, Morrison was particularly powerful in promoting Alpha House's mission and spreading the Archibald's message. "It took me a minute to donate. It took me a minute to tweet that," he said. "And if it... gets people thinking about spending their money a bit differently every now and then... to me, that's what social media is meant for."  

While Morrison chose to donate money to Alpha House, he was quick to recognize that not everyone may not have the financial ability, but that shouldn't stop them from trying to honor Archibald's memory however they can. "There's lot of organizations and things like that that don't necessarily need your money but maybe need your time or your energy," he noted.

Alycha Reda, an advocate for victims of sexual violence and human trafficking and manager at American Eagle, is a testament to the other ways anyone and everyone can help. After seeing the Archibald family's statement, Red asked herself, "What can I do to help keep her legacy alive? What can I do to help continue her passion?" As "a lower-income person," she chose to donate her clothes to Alpha House in honor of Chrissy. "I didn't have the money, but I have clothing," she told A Plus. "And I know that that is something that a lot of people don't have." 

Alycha Reda 

Not only did Reda donate her clothes, but she encouraged her boyfriend, friends, and co-workers to donate theirs to Alpha House as well. "So far already I have just mounds of piles of clothes stacking up," she explained. "I'm willing to pick up clothing for people and drop it off at the shelters... Every time someone donates a bag to me, I'm gonna get their name and put it in a card and send it to the Alpha House." She plans to sign each and every one with "Chrissy sent us." 

"I want to give back, and I want people to give back because I've been doing this for so long," she added. "I've been trying to find new ways to give back and when I saw this, it just hit home for me." Reda also felt a strong connection to the cause "as someone who has been almost homeless and has lived in an impoverished state" and who now works with homeless people as a loss prevention officer. 

Reda is currently training to be a RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer. "It was because of the people like her, like Chrissy, that helped me get back on my feet," she explained. "So... I think it's very important to continue her legacy and her passion and what she strived for so selflessly." 

Calgary Alpha House Society also made an official statement about Archibald's passing on social media to ensure that everyone knew what kind of person they were honoring with their donations. "Chrissy was a bright light to many, and her generosity, kind spirit and huge heart for her work in responding to issues of addictions and homelessness at the centre inspired us all," the organization wrote. "We grieve the loss of our dear friend and colleague, and will remember her as a talented social worker, workmate and exceptional human being... Chrissy is in our hearts and will remain there." 

Expanding on this sentiment, Elgie said,"She [Archibald] was very talented and had a unique way of connecting with our clients She could just sense where people were at in their life journey and would accept them and care for them at that place. She had a heart for marginalized people and believed everyone deserved to be treated with respect and dignity."

As a fellow advocate, Reda not only related to Archibald and her passion to help others, but could easily imagine what she and her family must be going through now. "The way that I see is like, 'What if I was her? What about all the work that I've put into my advocacy work?'" she said. "I would want people to continue my passion and my legacy and my work as well." 

Reda's commitment to advocacy work, regardless of whether it's her own, is exactly why she's going the extra mile — and then some — to carry on Archibald's legacy,. "I want people to understand that we [advocates] don't do this for attention," she affirmed. "I do it because it needs to be done." In doing everything she can to spread the Archibalds' message, Reda also hopes to share her own. "Let's not focus on the hate... Let's focus on the love," she said. "I'm gonna continue to keep fighting for love." 

Several others have joined Morrison and Reda in not only calling attention to Archibald's cause on social media but taking real, positive actions offline. "Thousands upon thousands of donations are gonna be rolling into homeless shelters across Canada, the United States, and the U.K.," Reda said. "I'm happy to see there was an overwhelming response to it in such a positive way." 

Calgary Alpha House society was also overwhelmed with the outpouring of support for Archibald and her life's work. "It is truly heartwarming to see the global community response to the #ChrissySentMe movement," Elgie said. "At a time when we are grieving the loss of our beloved colleague and friend, it is encouraging to see the outpouring of support." The organization also publicly thanked everyone in an official Facebook post

To A Plus, Elgie added, "Issues such as addiction and homelessness are also brought to the for front [sic] in a compassionate way, and this is a positive outcome for our clients." She and her colleagues "will ensure that the donations made to Alpha House go back into the programs that directly help the people Chrissy cared about so deeply." 

Elgie also encouraged anyone interested in taking part of the #ChrissySentMe initiative to not limit themselves to volunteering and donating. "..It is also about educating and building understanding and compassion for marginalized people in our communities," she explained. "Make an effort to understand mental health and addiction issues, share information with your community, both in the real world and through social media. If we have greater understanding, we can work together for lasting change." 

Though lasting change is something takes work each and every day, Elgie and the rest of Alpha House has already begun to see what a difference everyone's actions have made — to the staff and residents of Alpha House, to Archibald's family, and to Chrissy's legacy. "We know that she would be incredibly proud to see how the kindness of strangers touched by her life is having a positive impact on people struggling with homelessness and addictions not only here in Calgary, but around the world," Elgie said. 

Though each person's method of furthering the Archibald family's message differed, they all responded the way Chrissy's family suggested she would have wanted them to — with open hearts. 

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