By: Hermann Glockl, Founder of FCS Food on the Corner Society
Normally the November days on the West Coast of British Columbia are wet, rainy, and oftentimes fog moves in from Georgia Strait, lifting around noon. That’s how it was on the 16th of November 1982. After supper, I sat down and watched the evening news with Tony Parsons; actually I only watch television periodically, these being one of those times. I can no longer remember the details of all the stories that they discussed that evening, with the exception of one; which came out of the Interior of BC, more specifically, Quesnel. That story would forever change my life.
The setting was the Fraser Bridge in that snow-covered little Caribou Town. A couple was busy, serving those in need a hot cup of soup with sandwiches on a cold, frosty fall evening. Ice and snow covered the ground. People must have been freezing, as one could see the steam of the hot cup of soup rising in the air. When I watched that story, I immediately said to my wife, “that’s something we could do, let’s start a soup-kitchen,” as if a voice was saying, “You can feed My sheep.” The interesting thing about that story was that the man who helped make soup was a logger, who himself was out of work!
The more I thought about that story on that cold November night, the more determined I became. The next day, I still was very excited about the idea, having shared the news with Wayne Bergman, a dear friend and a trusted co-worker of mine, and like me, he too got excited and wanted to be part of this venture. The two of us started to work on this project together, planning and preparing for the opening day, which we scheduled for the first of January of 1983 On that New Year’s day, Wayne took upon him the responsibility of finding a suitable location where we could set up shop. My duty was to get all the necessary items for serving and feeding a host of people. Erika, my wife, made the very first large container of soup for us and eventually became our number one soup maker in the early years of our ministry.
As the opening day approached, doubts arose in my mind, are we doing the right thing? What will people say? What about City Hall? Indeed, those were some of the thoughts that went through my mind before opening day. But then I thought of that whisper in my ear, “You can feed My sheep,” and I said never mind what people will say, let’s go and do it! If people are hungry and in need, then we will feed them. So, with this attitude in mind, we proceeded in filling the Pinto station wagon with all the necessary items, such as the Coleman stove we took along, to keep the soup piping hot. Finally, the opening day came. When I arrived at the corner of Main and Hastings, Wayne was already there, informing all the people in and around Carnegie Library (now Carnegie Centre) that we had a gift for them: good homemade soup and sandwiches, and best of all, it was all free! In no time thirty-five to forty people lined up, making our first day a total success. As we cleaned up the area and assessed the situation, we told all the folks that we would be back the following Saturday at the same time.
From then on, we were looking forward to Saturday mornings and to our new-found friends. Of course, we were also excited about our newfound ministry and purpose. We shared our excitement with friends and neighbours, and as a result, word got around, people heard about our undertaking and soon some dear folks joined us in making soup and serving it at the location we dubbed, “The Corner”. Of course, there were also those that challenged us and cautioned us saying, “Why would you feed those lazy people? They should find a job and get to work.” We ignored these challenges and continued to serve at ‘The Corner’ every Saturday.
In May of 1990, I felt it necessary to form a non-profit organization, as the responsibilities grew over our head. Andre, my son was instrumental in helping us to get the society off the ground. Willing people joined us and helped wherever needed. Wayne and I elected some directors to give guidance to the newly formed organization. I offered my services as President for the first three years. We called it, Food on the Corner, for some obvious and some not so obvious reasons, you see it was the intention from the beginning to bring the LORD in as our partner to our organisation, for Jesus is called the Chief Cornerstone. Indeed we believe that to be the truth. At the same time, we recognize that all food comes from His hands in the first place. So we continued our ministry (which had since moved from the Carnegie Centre to the Vancouver Courthouse) with a strong and meaningful name.
As we are in our 39th year of serving the homeless people, our little Pinto has long been retired, and in its place runs a fair size white truck with our logo on. It is fully equipped to take all the necessary items, as well as some of the people who will serve the hungry folks downtown. What was once a two-man operation has expanded to a fair size organization of some 130 volunteers, serving up to 500 people any given Saturday. On a few occasions we had even larger crowds than that! But on most Saturdays, it may be close to between 200-300 friends. Today, Food on the Corner still serves each Saturday morning, a truly homemade soup, made my caring people in their kitchen! The soup is always piping hot! Our soup-makers spare no expense and use the best quality ingredients they can get. Not only that, but they put their love and prayers in it too, as they sincerely wish those less fortunate people a better future. Someone once said, “It only needs a spark to get a fire going!” Our soup makers along with all the volunteers want to be that spark in their life.
The 16th of November 1982 was the day that marked the beginning of our venture, however, I must say I was searching and praying for years, to find a purpose for my life and, for my newfound faith in Jesus Christ. Long before that eventful evening, my heart was being prepared for this ministry. You see, I grew up in Germany and after the war, care-parcels and food hampers were handed out to us, having come from caring people in North America. I never forgot that and how good the food tasted. It was heavenly almost! Many years later, when I immigrated to Canada I was blown away again, as people reached out to me and welcomed me, invited me to their home that too left a great impression in my heart. Then in the late 1960s people shared their Christian faith with me and invited me to their church. When I finally dedicated my life to the LORD Jesus Christ, things started to all make sense. During the years that passed, I learned that it was better to give than to receive, and I wanted to help, I asked, “What can I do to help some people in need?” I started intensely to pray and seek God’s will for my life! At times I got a bit impatient, until that November day in 1982. That’s when I knew, God answered my prayer!
As I look back on my life, I can truthfully say, I experienced the faithfulness of our God firsthand. I know He brought me to this land so many years ago, protected me and guided me all the way from Sudetenland, Germany to this blessed land. It was Jesus that arranged all those divine appointments, meeting the right people, all those many wonderful people. This is my testimony. I have experienced and witnessed His goodness. I have come to love this nation and its people and I am thankful that God put love into my heart for those precious people on The Corner. For all this, I will be forever grateful.
At FCS Food on the Corner Society, we recognize that there are a number of different denominations of the Christian faith working side by side. We accept those large areas of doctrinal teaching on which, historically, there has been general agreement among all true Christians. We desire to allow for freedom of conviction on other doctrinal matters, provided that any interpretation is based upon the Bible alone, and that no such interpretation shall become an issue which hinders the ministry to which God has called us. The Christian faith is a personal relationship with God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone involved in this ministry must believe this truth and abide by the statement of faith, as it is stated below.
We believe in one God, Creator and Lord of the Universe, the co-eternal Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary atoning death on the cross, rose bodily from the dead and ascended to heaven where, as truly God and truly man, He is the only mediator between God and man, and continually makes intercession for His own.
We believe that the Bible is God’s authoritative and inspired Word. It is without error in all its teachings, including creation, history, its own origins, and salvation. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters on which it speaks. Christians must submit to its divine authority, both individually and corporately, in all matters of belief and conduct, which is demonstrated by true righteous living.
We believe that all people are lost sinners and cannot see the Kingdom of God except through the new birth. Every person is in need of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Justification is by grace through faith in Christ alone. Without salvation given through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no entrance or alternative way to heaven for it is not of our works or good deeds. It is the privilege of all who are born again of the Spirit to be assured of their salvation from the very moment in which they trust Christ as their Saviour. At physical death, the believers enter immediately into eternal conscious fellowship with the Lord and await the resurrection of their bodies to everlasting glory and blessing. At physical death, the unbelievers enter immediately into eternal conscious separation from the Lord and await the resurrection of their bodies to everlasting judgment and condemnation.
We believe in one holy, universal, and apostolic Church and its calling is to worship God and witness concerning its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the Gospel among all nations and demonstrating its commitment by compassionate service to the needs of human beings and promoting righteousness and justice. We resolve for the Church’s constant renewal in truth, wisdom, faith, holiness, love, power, and mission.
We believe in the necessity of the work of the Holy Spirit for the individual’s new birth and growth to maturity. The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ and to apply the saving work of Christ to men and women. He convicts and draws sinners to Christ, imparts new life to them, continually indwells them from the moment of spiritual birth and seals them until the day of redemption. His fullness, power and control are appropriated in the believer’s life by faith.
We believe that Jesus Christ will personally and visibly return in glory to raise the dead and bring salvation and judgment to completion. God will fully manifest His kingdom when He establishes a new heaven and new earth, in which He will be glorified forever and exclude all evil, suffering, and death.
The Lord Jesus Christ commanded all believers to proclaim the gospel throughout the world and to disciple men and women of every nation. The fulfilment of the Great Commission requires a total personal commitment to His command.
The wishes, desires and purpose of the Society are:
1) To glorify God by making a contribution toward helping to fulfil the Great Commission in the downtown, east-side of Vancouver, B.C.
2) To help any individual in need of food. We will try to provide the needy with good, nutritious food, consisting of soup, sandwiches, coffee and sweets. This is to take care of the immediate need. We also try to provide each needy person with some food to take home, as long as the supply lasts.
3) We feel it is of great importance to show everyone our love, and demonstrate our care in word and deed. The helpers of Food on the Corner will bring a word of encouragement and comfort to the lonely, the hurt, the depressed and the down-trodden to try to build up their self-esteem and their self-worth. It is our utmost desire to help them find the way out of their present circumstance.
4) As Christians, we know and understand that every person has an eternal soul, and therefore, each person is of infinite value! The Lord Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” We strive to share “The Good News of Jesus Christ” with every person that comes to our tables. We shall strive to let them know that Jesus is the Saviour of mankind and by believing in Jesus and trusting in his finished work, eternal life is given as a free gift from God. As well, Jesus’ transforming grace and truth can be manifested in their lives bearing witness that no life is beyond the reach of God’s power.
Our beliefs and values are also rooted in Jesus’ teachings, which are the core of the evangelical church today. We acknowledge that through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are forgiven for our sins and we can have a personal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our work has also strengthened ties with churches, organizations and individuals for one common purpose: To take Jesus to the world. “Go into all the world,” was Jesus’ command to His disciples and have always motivated us to take His message everywhere. From day one, our vision and mission have focused on Jesus’ command (Matt. 28:19, 20). We are committed to being:
• Centered in Jesus Christ—in our obedience to the Risen Lord.
• Grounded in the Bible—in our life and ministry.
• Dependent on Prayer—as the foundation for our ministry.
• Partnered with His Church—as the biblical means for ministry.
• Committed to Unity—with all believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord Jesus commands.
• Compelled to Evangelize and Disciple—to bring Jesus Christ to the lost and to help people grow in Him.
• Loving Others—by treating all people with grace, trust, and respect.
• Seeking Excellence—by demonstrating integrity and wise stewardship.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt, because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”
He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
(John 21:15-17 NIV)
FCS Food on the Corner Society is a “faith-based organization.” We believe that since Jesus Christ called us to “feed His sheep,” He is able to supply all of our needs as we come before Him in prayer. The Society is not funded by any municipal, provincial or federal government. The Society receives support from individuals, churches, businesses, service organizations and foundations. The Society comprises of 100 percent volunteers- we have no paid staff.
FCS Food on the Corner Society is a:
• Non-Profit Organization, organized under the laws of British Columbia in May of 1990.
• CRA Registered Canadian Charity No. 891383341RR001
FCS Food on the Corner Society strives to serve in the best interests of the following groups. We appreciate their participation, compassion and commitment:
• Our Volunteers – The diversity of our volunteers brings strength to our Society. Involved in every aspect of our service, they have a heart of love, willingness and desire to help reach “the lost.”
• Our Donors – Loyal donors express their compassion for those in need through supporting FCS Food on the Corner Society.
• Our Directors – We are fortunate to be governed by a Board of Directors that provides expertise and ensures FCS Food on the Corner Society fulfills its God-given mandate. They give guidance and direction for the overall operation of the Society.
• Faith: In our service, we share God’s message of love for all people, demonstrated through his Son, Jesus Christ, who offers hope and transformation.
• Respect: We believe that each person is created in the image of God and must be treated with dignity and respect.
• Integrity: We are transparent and trustworthy, accountable to God and each other. We are committed to biblical, ethical and professional accountability in all our dealings.
• Stewardship: We consider our donors’ support a sacred trust and believe we are accountable before God and our supporters for the management of those resources.
• Relationship: We are committed to caring relationships that foster trust, and change in people’s lives.
• Holistic Approach: We are committed to serving the whole person both spiritually and physically.
• Partnerships: We are committed to strong partnerships with caring individuals, churches, businesses and community organizations to effectively care for the hungry, hurting and homeless.