Cape Bretons are developing new ways to help those in need

Justin Ayre owns and operates four pizza restaurants in Cape Breton.  He is part of a new program to help people in need.  (Josefa Cameron/CBC - photo credit)

Justin Ayre owns and operates four pizza restaurants in Cape Breton. He is part of a new program to help people in need. (Josefa Cameron/CBC – photo credit)

Four pizzerias in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality are now designated places to drop off items for those in need.

Alexandra’s Pizza’s Charlotte Street and Kings Road branches, North Sydney and Glace Bay branches accept all clothing and camping supplies for homeless people.

Justin Ayre is the owner of the pizzerias. He said he realized there were many people affected by homelessness in Cape Breton and he wanted to help.

“We had a really cold winter,” he said. “It’s important to give these people what they need, shaving kit, tents, sleeping bags and meals and stuff like that.”

Last year he noticed people were sleeping in bank entrances, but he said some are now locked out.

“I see it all over Charlotte Street … And I feel sorry for these people who are out in the rain now, they have absolutely nowhere to go,” Ayre said. “Well, yes, whatever we can do to help them.”

The initiative is called Huts for the Homeless. It is a collaboration with the Homeless Shelter community and Loaves and Fishes Sydney.

Ayre said donations are already coming in. He plans to keep it as an ongoing project.

Josefa Cameron/CBC

Josefa Cameron/CBC

The articles are to be handed over to the pizzerias and then distributed to the needy via the animal shelter and bread and fish.

Lisa Lannon from Sydney started the initiative. She worked with the homeless in Fort McMurray, Alta and realized a desperate need when she returned to Nova Scotia.

“I’ve always been a volunteer,” she says. “I really don’t feel fulfilled in my life unless we do some kind of volunteer work.”

Lannon also noted a lack of support for people affected by homelessness in Cape Breton. She said she is worried about people living in tents and being removed from public parks.

She turned to Ayre to do something about it. Ayre said Lannon’s idea struck a chord.

Provided by Lisa Lanoon

Provided by Lisa Lanoon

“When I was fourteen, I was living in Halifax with my mother and her boyfriend, and one night I was kicked out of my apartment,” he said. “I was at a young age. I didn’t know where to go. Luckily I found a place to stay.

“I kind of connect with these people because it’s happening. It happened to me and it can easily happen to anyone.”

Lannon and Ayre plan to continue helping the people of Cape Breton.

After speaking to some homeless people, Lannon learned they needed a place to shower without feeling humiliated. She said once shelters for the homeless are up and running, she’ll look for available showers.

On March 25 from 12pm to 6pm, Alexandra’s Pizza in downtown Sydney will host an event featuring live music and an auction to raise funds and comfort items



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