Nanaimo 7-10 Club for homeless in financial crunch

WatchServing food to the homeless since 1985, the 7-10 Club is now asking for financial help from the public and local businesses.

Pizza might not be your first choice for breakfast but when you live on the street it’s a pretty great way to start the day.

That’s what the 7-10 Club served to the homeless in Nanaimo Saturday morning, courtesy Panago Pizza.

If it wasn’t for the 7-10 Club and the volunteers in Nanaimo hundreds of people might not get a meal at all some days.

“Without this place, it would be impossible to stay alive,” said Gary Barnier who is homeless and has been using the 7-10 Club for years.

“They feel like they have a reason to live because they’re nourished and their stomachs are full and they’re in good hands,” said homeless man Christopher Burton.

Panago provided about 400 slices of pizza for free, along with salad and dessert, and it’s good timing because the 7-10 Club which started serving the homeless in 1985 has hit hard financial times.

“Well, like most non-profits, it’s always a constant need for funding but right now we’re in a crunch” said 7-10 board member Tim McGrath.

It costs well over $100,000 a year to run the society but it’s been finishing in debt in recent years.

“We need people to step up to the plate, volunteer, we never have enough volunteers. We need money,” added McGrath.

And they’re hoping more sponsors like Panago will provide full meals like Saturday. For those who rely on it, 7-10 is literally a lifeline.

“If it wasn’t for this place I probably wouldn’t eat,” said Mystie Wintoneak, who is homeless. “They also give out bread, they give out lunches at breakfast so you’re never hungry so you’re not out there doing crime to try to eat.”

“It means everything about staying alive, staying healthy in any shape or form,” added Barnier. “You’ve got to eat and if you’re homeless you have no way of cooking or holding any type of food.”

“There’s never enough food when you have as many people as we’re seeing and we’re seeing more and more clients than we have seen before,” 7-10 board member Leon Cake.

About 300 people were served Saturday and the club hopes the public and businesses will step up so the service can continue.

More information can be found here.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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