North Shore Harvest...

(An article for the September 1995 Deep Cove Crier)
North Shore Harvest...
(An article for the September 1995 Deep Cove Crier)

People nowadays have lost most of their heroes.  Cynicism and despair is rampant, especially among the younger generation.  As one "Generation X" musician put it, "Since I gave up hope, I feel a lot better."  The problem with cynicism, however, is that while it can relieve the pain of disappointment, cynicism leaves us with a "root of bitterness" that can choke all meaning and purpose out of life.

Even in 1995, we still need heroes who can inspire and motivate us to greater heights.  One such local hero is David Foster, the founder of North Shore Harvest.  David Foster has a dream that he will not let die: a dream to give hurting people a hand up, not a hand-out.  David had a successful "Personal Fitness Training" business on the North Shore, which ended in disappointment.  Out of his own experience with the welfare system, David knew that there had to be another way to help people get back on their feet.  Out of this conviction grew the North Shore Harvest , a project of the Change the World Foundation.

As David puts it, the North Shore Harvest is simply about change...changing attitudes and changing lives.  It is a full-time emergency, basic needs and life skills center that collects and distributes basic needs in the form of nutritionally balanced food hampers, baby food, some adult and children’s clothing plus limited household supplies free of charge to less fortunate individuals and families on the North Shore from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove.

Open 5 days a week, the North Shore Harvest is also a lifeskills center - based on the principle  "If you give a person a fish, he has food for a day, but teach a person to fish and he has food for life.".  The Harvest runs a Community Kitchen, teaching low cost nutritional cooking and a Lifeskills Forum classroom assisting with budgeting, finance, resumes and educational and motivational help.

One of the creative ideas that North Shore Harvest has pioneered is their "Dress for Success" program.  In partnership with Trevenen’s Apparel of West Vancouver, they receive top quality "traded-in" suits which are available to help people look their best as they seek employment.  North Shore Harvest, from the very beginning, has worked closely with North Shore businesses, churches, and other community groups.  David wisely knew that he could not do this all alone.  One example of this partnership was a Valentine’s Friendship Dinner for 20+ families who attended a wonderful evening of food, entertainment and fellowship.  Capilano Community Church helped host the evening, and the food was donated by Earl’s Restaurant.  Since 1987, David Foster has also hosted a North Shore Community Christmas Dinner at the North Shore Rec Centre.  Close to 400 needy North Shore residents, including 200 plus children, share a special ‘family’ evening during what is often a very lonely season.

Throughout the North Shore, you may have noticed special Harvest boxes that are available for donating food.  I can think of two depots at the Parkgate Shopping Centre where you can donate food items for North Shore Harvest: Bank of Montreal and Fawcett Insurance.  Our own church, St. Simon’s, has a box like many North Shore churches where food is then passed onto the North Shore Harvest.  Few people realize that even in our own backyard on the North Shore, there were 15,000 UIC claims and that close to 5,000 people receive welfare.  Every week we are seeing 300 new welfare claims.  The need is clearly there.  Thank God for  David Foster and North Shore Harvest who are mobilizing our North Shore community into meeting that need.

When David Foster spoke recently at our church, our congregation felt deeply challenged to do more to care for the poor and less-fortunate.  As the bible clearly puts it, caring for the poor is not an option; it is a mandate from Jesus Christ himself, the Lord of the Universe.  David Foster is a deeply spiritual person whose life was turned around when he discovered how much Jesus loves each of us, regardless of our background or situation.  If you would like to make a difference, I encourage you to call David & Amiko Foster at North Shore Harvest, 166 West Esplanade, North Vancouver (983--9488).

The Reverend Ed Hird
Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church

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