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Homeless joggers on Run for Change

A running group for homeless people went out on its first jog yesterday in downtown Vancouver.

A running group for homeless people went out on its first jog yesterday in downtown Vancouver.

In all, five volunteers and 15 men living in shelters and single-room occupancy hotels showed up for the jog organized by marathon runner Benji Chu.

“I came out to get healthy and meet people ... to get back into real life,” said participant Charles Bafford.

Chu said he came up with the idea for the running club, titled Run for Change, after being exposed to a similar club in Philadelphia.

He said that he is already planning to buy sneakers and gear for people who turn out to be committed runners.

“Running has changed my life ... I want to share this feeling,” he said.

As he handed out water bottles to the participants, Chu said he didn’t expect so many people to turn up.

Amrit Bhangoo, an actress who came out to volunteer, said reading about Chu’s idea inspired her to join.

“I think this is amazing ... This club is letting go of judgment ... Everybody deserves a chance.”

The club meets every Wednesday at 3 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church at Burrard and Nelson.

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