Wait­ing for fed­eral fund­ing

Founder of Har­vest House hop­ing to buy build­ing in Glace Bay

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE smont­gomery@cb­post.com

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.”

CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO

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.

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