This post is part of our series on the winning charities from the 2016 Aviva Community Fund and is provided by Joel DeMerchant, Executive Director at Harvest House Woodstock. This multi-part blog series features the stories behind the charities who won the 2016 Aviva Community Fund contest and the impact they will make with each project across Canada.
Falling in and between the cracks of our communities are our neighbours. They may be a family member, a friend, or a co-worker; someone in the community who has fallen on hard times and faces challenges stemming from homelessness or poverty. Some who are struggling are easy to identify while others are not. Some suffer from addiction, others have been born into difficult circumstances, and in many cases, their struggles are the result of things out of their control such as job loss, unexpected health bills, or the loss of someone they depend on. In Woodstock, New Brunswick, a small group of community members are working to seal the cracks that lead to homelessness and poverty.
Harvest House Woodstock (HHW) is a registered Canadian charity working to address the root causes of poverty, homelessness, and addictions in our community. We’re a compassionate group focused on making a big difference in our community. We help our neighbours break the cycles of poverty and destructive addictions, and we equip local families and individuals with the support they need.
As part of our mission, we help others experience and grow in the love of Jesus Christ, while becoming responsible, productive members of our communities. HHW provides free counseling services, an addictions recovery program, studies provided by various area ministers, free weekly meals to those in need, and a safe and healthy environment for youth to find help for the various issues they might face. We aim to prevent poverty, homelessness and addiction investing in and educating youth and at-risk young adults.
On top of all of this, we provide individual case management in order to enable individuals to move toward a healthier, more independent life while providing practical steps and accountability to make this happen. At our drop-in center, we are able to provide work study and internship opportunities for our local high school and secondary education institutions. Through these and our weekly youth program, we are able to have a greater reach and impact on our local youth and young adults.
We Do It For Our Community
We love our county and the families in it and we recognize that various cycles are at work in our community; holding people to a life of poverty without hope.
To help increase our capacity and our impact, we are in the process of finishing some much-needed renovations for our temporary shelter, including a wheelchair accessible shower and bathroom. The costs behind this are pricey, so we chose to submit our project to the Aviva Community Fund, and incredibly, we were granted $40,000 to cover the costs of our renovations. Because of this, we will be able to warm more hearts by installing a new heating system, and provide a solid roof over the heads of the people we help by replacing our roof.
This work is larger than any one of us, and it affects all of us, locally, and nationally as each person we assist are members of our community and nation. As a community working together, we can tackle these larger issues, develop a healthy community, and set in place principles by which our families, businesses, schools, churches, and future generations will benefit from. By all of us committing to this great work, together, our goal at Harvest House Woodstock is to make a big and lasting difference.