Island Savings, through the First West Foundation, is helping support the Men’s Centre in Nanaimo, which has allowed the centre to purchase immersion blenders and crock pots as part of a dinner program. Pictured, left to right, are Samantha Olaussen, First West Foundation; Jenna Sutherland, Island Savings branch manager, Cedar; Glen Sexsmith, executive director, Men’s Centre; Aled Brocklebank, Island Savings branch manager, Woodgrove; and Darren Maillot, counsellor, Men’s Centre. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Nanaimo Men’s Centre inviting dads to dinner

Centre hopes to raise awareness about its services and help dads network

The Men’s Centre in Nanaimo is hoping to create community connections through a series of dinners for dads.

The centre is starting up a program called Dads’ Soup, which will consist of half a dozen dinners at the centre on Fitzwilliam Street.

“It’s an opportunity for the Men’s Centre to give back to the community and to support men and families and just celebrate being a dad…” said Glen Sexsmith, the centre’s executive director. “It would be nice to have some more community involvement in the centre and interest in what we do.”

The Dads’ Soup program has been supported by sponsors including Island Saving’s First West Foundation and the United Way, which has allowed the Men’s Centre to offer an incentive – free crock pots and immersion blenders for dads who make it out to a majority of the dinners.

Sexsmith said the dinners will allow men to network and share some laughs, and he hopes it will draw more people into supporting the centre and volunteering with events.

The Men’s Centre is the only centre of its kind in British Columbia, Sexsmith said, and helps clients through mental health support and advice on topics such as child visitation. The centre received bridge funding through the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General and is open three days a week.

“I think it would be very good use of the overhead if we did have some core funding to be open five days a week,” Sexsmith said. “We could do that with an extra $150,000 a year.”

The first dinner will be Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. To RSVP or find out more information, call 250-716-1551 or e-mail

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