Today, and you will not read their stories in the North Shore News, the Outlook or in any other paper, many of the children of this "great generation", many of our elders have to make a choice between buying groceries and paying the rent. The economic downturn has hit some of them the hardest, forcing them out of their homes and into the Lookout Emergency Aid Society's North Shore Shelter. They are turning quietly to the shelter from West Vancouver and North Vancouver, not calling attention to the fact that they cannot keep a roof over their heads after giving their lives to create our way of life.
According to the staff of the Shelter, all of this started to happen with alarming speed over the last year, since the close of the Festival in 2009. Seniors, some of them with advanced degrees, started turning to the Shelter as their last recourse against the disturbing reality of the economic downturn. We don't know their names, nor do we have a right to know their names. They are registered in the 478 people who have logged into the Shelter, somewhere in the majority of people who stayed there for an average duration of 22.15 days between our last New Year's Day and today.
We have the power to answer their need, to give them love and support and safe harbour against a brutal economy, by lighting trees of hope on Dundarave Beach. Over the past two Christmases, these trees have raised $50,000 for the North Shore Shelter, and we are well on our way to increasing this running total in the Christmas that's coming to us now. Sponsor a Christmas tree for the elder in your life who's helped make you the person you are today, sponsor a tree for your family or school, for your business, church or community group, and let your tree be a brilliant part of the solution. This Christmas, in the Dundarave Festival of Lights, we can work to the day when we end homelessness beautifully. We can shine in the true spirit of the season, and live the best spirit of our community.