Waiting for federal funding
Founder of Harvest House hoping to buy building in Glace Bay
Wanted: Someone with a big heart and the passion of the late Melvin Sangster.
Cal Maskery, the executive director and founder of Harvest House Atlantic, said if government funding comes through for a building to house Harvest House in Glace Bay, he will be heading to Cape Breton.
“Once we have a building we can gather a team of people and get it up again,” he said. “We would look to the community to assist us by helping to identify a co-ordinator for this area.”
Maskery said before the recent death of former co-ordinator Melvin Sangster, a proposal for about $100,000 in funding had been submitted to the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
The money was to be used to purchase the former St. Leo’s church and use it as a home for Harvest House’s drop-in centre as well as its ministry and programs.
“We helped Melvin with that proposal here from Moncton.”
He said expects a funding decision anytime.
Maskery said a building is needed in order to get things going in Glace Bay again.
“As of now there is no building in Glace Bay and with nothing
there to work with it’s really hard to get a start on getting it open again.”
Maskery said if the funding comes through he will hold a series of information meetings in Glace Bay to recruit a new co-ordinator.
He said the person would have to be passionate about working with the poor and carrying on the work of the late Sangster.
“I would have to find someone with (Sangster’s) heart and passion to carry on that work,” he said.
He said Sangster showed incredible passion for helping others.
“Melvin and (his wife) Hazel gave 150 per cent, they were both very dedicated people. When they no longer had a building they would use their vehicle to do whatever they had to do. Melvin was a very compassionate, caring man, he will surely be missed.”
The Sangsters had been coordinators of Harvest House in Glace Bay since 2001. In October 2015, they were forced out of the building due to the deteriorating condition of the structure. When the building closed, Sangster began operating from his home.
Sangster died at his home in Donkin on Jan. 13 at age 63.
The only other Harvest House in Cape Breton was in North Sydney but it closed several years ago.
“Melvin expressed the need was there in Glace Bay and that’s why he was there so long, 16 years,” Maskery said.
Gordon McNeil, a member of the Harvest House board of directors, said Sangster’s wife Hazel retired after her husband’s death and has moved from Cape Breton to live with family.
“Melvin was the driving force behind Harvest House and Hazel assisted him,” he explained. “It would be too much work for her to try and do all what he was doing by herself.”
However McNeil said the board has not been dissolved.
“Our board will be meeting soon about the future of Harvest House.”
McNeil said after they lost the building Melvin worked out of his truck, helping people who fell behind on bills or delivering groceries to people in need.
He said at Christmas time Sangster gave out grocery orders that included a $20 gift certificate in each package.
“That was really nice of him to do this. He was a kind man.”
The late Melvin Sangster had applied for funding for a new Harvest House building before his death in January. Now the Harvest House Atlantic organization is hoping for federal funding in order to jumpstart the project.