Last Word: John Binari

Photo: Alena Kuzub

Being a newspaper vendor isn’t that different from the work John Binari was doing before he came to Spare Change News: he was working as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army in Porter Square.

Although the work was okay and he earned $10 an hour, the season only lasted for four and a half weeks—from Thanksgiving to Christmas—at which point John had to think about alternative possibilities. The nice thing about working for Spare Change News is that it offers year-round shifts.

Working in Porter Square, it was almost a given that John would get in touch with Spare Change News at some point or other, because so many of the paper’s vendors work in the area. But it was the vendor who sells newspapers outside Shaw’s Supermarket who first suggested John contact the paper.

That was a year ago. On the day before being interviewed, John celebrated his one-year anniversary with Spare Change News.

“Right now, I’m happy with this,” he says. “I work in Davis Square after 4 p.m. and Sullivan Square between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. … I don’t really get cold—I stand in the station. The cold doesn’t bother me.”

John’s grandparents moved to the United States from Italy. “I want to say [they came from a large city like] Venice,” says John. His father and mother then brought up John and his family in Somerville, where John has lived for most his life.

In the time John has lived in Somerville, he’s witnessed a lot of change. “I grew up here as a kid,” he says. “Moved to Haverhill for eight years [and] I’m living with my girlfriend now on Powderhouse Boulevard. I’ve always liked it here. I went to Somerville High … The community itself [has changed]—there’s more of a population. New buildings.”

I ask John what he hopes for in 2016. “To live life to its fullest,” he says. “God willing, everything goes well.”

He wraps up the interview with a salute to his readers: “I feel like I have a lot of regular customers. They’re always waiting for the new issue to come out, to see what’s inside.”

Andrew Warburton is a writer and copy editor at Spare Change News.

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