Community dinners help less fortunate in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Holiday season provides multiple free dinners for the less fortunate in Nanaimo.

Salvation Army volunteers Kyra Scott

The Christmas holidays can be a difficult time for many people, especially those struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, there are many residents in the Harbour City who are making the Christmas season a little more enjoyable for those less fortunate than others.Between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day there will be a number of free Christmas dinners for those in need. On Dec. 24, the Salvation Army will be hosting its free annual Christmas dinner at the New Hope Centre on 19 Nicol St.

It’s an opportunity for those who are significantly less fortunate to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner and be surrounded by people who care for absolutely no charge.

Rob Anderson, said that they are expecting up to 400 individuals to attend this year’s dinner.

“They are so many people out there that can not afford a Christmas dinner and they are alone for Christmas and this is a place where they can come together and celebrate over a Christmas meal,” he said.Story continues below

The New Hope Centre can only handle so many people at a time and as a result they will host six scheduled meal services. The first one will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will be followed by additional services running every half-hour until 5:30 p.m.

Anderson said those individuals interested in attending must pick up a free dinner ticket for any one of the six scheduled dinner times.

“They will need a ticket to attend along with a time. Tickets will be available on Dec. 19 at the front desk at the New Hope Centre,” Anderson said.The Salvation Army’s Christmas dinner isn’t the only opportunity for those in need to get a free dinner during the holiday season.The Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society will be hosting its annual Christmas breakfast on Dec. 25 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 285 Prideaux St.

Individuals will be able to get scrambled eggs, ham, fruit, juice, and coffee as well as a roast beef sandwich to take home with them.

The 7-10 Club will also host a Christmas dinner later that day at Generations Church, 1300 Princess Royal Ave., from 3-7 p.m.

Those wondering about transportation to the free dinner need not worry as they can contact 250-797-0531 to arrange a free ride. The 7-10 Club has also organized an hourly ride service to the church from 285 Prideuax St., between 2-5 p.m.Gord Fuller, chairmen of the 7-10 Club, said the breakfast and dinner give the less fortunate with no family around a chance to enjoy Christmas day with others.”For many of them they don’t have any family in town and this gives them a chance to go somewhere and feel welcome,” he said. Finally, on Dec. 26 the Nob Hill Community Association is hosting a free Christmas dinner for the homeless and low-income families at 164 Nicol St., beginning at 5 p.m. The event will feature music from Paul Gogo. For those interested in donating, attending or helping out as a volunteer, please contact 250-755-1014.

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