By the very nature of their duty, the heroic act of saving lives is on firefighters, medical first responders, police and the like. However, you have the capacity to save a life, too, and it doesn't involve any formal training.
Harvest Project is a community-based urban relief organization serving Metro Vancouver's North Shore, from Deep Cove to Horseshoe Bay. By extending a hand up rather than a handout, they provide hope and tangible change through engagement and active listening, helping people who face dire life circumstances: family trauma, illness, job loss, and the threat of poverty and homelessness.
"Harvest Project brings our neighbours a clear opportunity to help their neighbours one at a time," says Kevin Lee, development officer. "Helping our neighbours become healthier makes the whole community healthier, and we bring an opportunity to help save lives close to home."
"We look to neighbours for 100% of the support, and the North Shore community is amazingly generous," reveals Lee. "The biggest portion, nearly 50%, comes from households, mostly the North Shore, but also Metro Vancouver and beyond."
Harvest Project programs
It's not uncommon for multiple crises to strike concurrently, making it difficult for someone to cope when things pile up. Their role is to assist people in that first instance, listen, and help them find a way forward through their challenging circumstances.
"The Client Care (Core) Program is all about what we do and gets to our real approach, which is to engage with the whole person," explains Lee. "We don't isolate the need for food or need for this or that. We want to recognize the challenges being faced across multiple facets of a person's life."
With various functions of their program, over 400 people are currently being supported. Client care is multi-faceted, with one-to-one coaching and counsel at its core.
"We intend to have a single point of contact so the client has a comfortable relationship and can move forward with that person," says Lee.
A trained client care partner works with the client for their time in the program to help set goals, provide monthly grocery support, seasonal clothing support and a rent bank, among other services.
The in-house grocery depot is transitioning back to a combination of food support: grocery gift cards and physical grocery items. "The purpose of our grocery support isn't to pretend to be the food bank, but to deal with that basic level of health and nutrition needed," admits Lee. "If one is struggling across multiple facets of life, the fear of running out of food towards the end of any month is overwhelming."
Harvest Project launched a rent bank in 2020, offering eligible residents and existing clients short-term, interest-free loans to those at risk of eviction or essential utility disconnection. Lee reveals, "To date, we've kept more than 300 North Shore residents housed that otherwise would have been at risk of homelessness or being homeless."
Your donation's positive impact
When you support Harvest Project, your dollars provide a meaningful level of family support across a range of services.
A one-time gift of $50 provides a first visit and connection with a new client, $100 provides a grocery voucher for a family, and $200 provides a month's worth of services for a household.
The upcoming holiday season is typically when many start to think about how they can help those less fortunate. The need is greatest during fall and winter but they look to community support to sustain their efforts year-round.
"Our donation webpage enables you the opportunity to make a monthly donation," says Lee. "That's the best way to be supportive; it brings financial support to our work every month of the year."
"I repeatedly hear these wonderfully positive stories of change and folks reconnecting," says Lee. "To see that up close with folks coming through our doors and sharing their stories is what we're all about."
"We see incredible value in a single life becoming healthier and more able to participate in the life of the community—lives are actually saved."
For more information and to donate, visit harvestproject.org or call 604.983.9488.