Prince Edward Island bus driver set to bring cheer to children in Peru

Jim Day
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Tiger Melhem, a bus driver who lives in Charlottetown, shows some of the many items he will pack into about eight suitcases to give to impoverished children in Peru.

Tiger Melham is getting ready for a return trip to deliver toys, clothes and medical supplies to poverty-stricken villages

The bus driver with the big heart is getting ready to once again spread a whole lot of joy.

Tiger Melhem, 58, of Charlottetown has been busy gathering plenty of items to hand deliver to poverty-stricken children in villages in Peru.

In 2012, he headed to the airport with a hefty load of goods donated by friends, co-workers and local businesses to go along with numerous pairs of shoes that he purchased.

He is set to return in June with a far bigger bag of goodies. This time, some high school students will join Melhem to help lug all the supplies on and off the plane, and to hand them out.

Donations have piled in.

He has 100 calculators, 400 pieces of clothing, 100 pairs of shoes, 3,000 pieces of medical supplies, 60 toys, 10 soccer balls, 200 toothbrushes, 60 kit bags and purses and 400 local school T-shirts.

More than $10,000 worth of goods will be packed into about eight suitcases with Melhem and the students taking them to Peru.

“I just can’t wait to take it down there,’’ he says.

This philanthropy to the Peruvians was sparked by a trip Melhem made to Peru in 2007 when he encountered extreme poverty in a village located in Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest.

He had a magical experience when a boy asked for money to buy shoes. Melhem obliged, expecting the money to be spent elsewhere. He was pleasantly surprised to watch from a distance as the boy actually went ahead and bought a pair of shoes and slipped them onto his bare feet.

Melhem set his mind on one day returning to the same village with a pile of shoes for the needy children. He did in 2012 and he will do so again in a few months.

“It’s nothing about me,’’ he says. “It’s about the kids — to let these kids be happy . . . I get excited.’’

Melhem does not need any more donated goods. He and the students will have their hands full heading to Peru with the large mound of items already stockpiled in Melhem’s home.

The kind-hearted bus driver, however, could use a little assistance to help cover travel costs. People can call Melhem at 892-0794 if they wish to help.

Melhem is also encouraging people to bring their own items to pass out to children when visiting impoverished places.

“Just do something for someone else,’’ he says.

Geographic location: Peru, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown Iquitos

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Recent comments

  • be kind
    February 24, 2015 - 19:55

    What a great thing you are doing. This story is inspiring and makes my day!

  • Susan
    February 26, 2014 - 09:56

    Wonderful vacation... how many children in Canada do you do this for?

    • Natalie
      February 26, 2014 - 22:24

      What are you doing to help anyone?

    • Sharon
      February 27, 2014 - 13:07 many children are you helping here? Even a good news story on here always manages to have a bah humbug! Good work Tiger!!!

    • Tiger
      March 07, 2014 - 11:53

      Susan with due respect to you and your family and all the kids in canada,if you think it is a holiday I would love u to come with me and help out ,than u can tell if it is 60 degrees no shelter no ocean it is in the middle of the jungle,you get 100 and 100 of very poor kids around looking for a pencil or a tooth brush or a scribbler to draw for the first time in their life ,it is all work and it is from my heart to the kids everywhere,I wish I can do it here but there is so many red tags from the government and the poorest kid in canada is wealthy comparing to third world countries ,I hope you will wake up Susan and start thinking of kids anywhere in this world as kids and they need our help and we can do that,I send you lots of love and light in your heart,and god bless you,I leave at the end of June please let me know if you would like to come and help out with this mission I would greatly appreciated .

  • tiger
    February 25, 2014 - 09:14

    if you like to help with this project ,any donations will be greatly appreciated ,just write a check to : help a kid wear shoes in peru and thank you and have a blessing day filled with love and light .

    • Alyson
      February 25, 2014 - 13:45

      You are an inspiration and an example of all that is right with the world. Thank you Tiger, blessings to you!

    • Sharon
      February 28, 2014 - 06:02

      I think you are doing a wonderful thing Tiger. Thank you for being the brightness in a sometimes cloudy world. Keep up the great work!!!