Hope & Love 4 U Christmas event continues in Downtown Eastside without its Indigenous founder

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      For the past several years, a formerly homeless Nisga'a man, Alex Watts, has organized a grassroots Christmas charitable event at the corner of Main and East Hastings streets.

      But this year, Watts has fallen ill so his good friend, Bill Chu, has stepped in to get the job done.

      He did some whirlwind fundraising and managed to secure the use of a nearby washroom, so the event is happening again.

      Chu and many others from the local Chinese community will be handing out sandwiches, blankets, used clothing, trail-mix bars, candy canes, soup, and other helpful gifts from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.

      Watts is from Kincolith and was sent to a residential school at the age of 8. He launched the Hope & Love 4 U event in 2014.

      Video: Alex Watts share his story of what it was like being homeless with Ryan Lehal in 2017.