Community

Busy holiday season for Maple Ridge Sally Ann

The Salvation Army in Maple Ridge served up a lot of turkey. - The NEWS/files
The Salvation Army in Maple Ridge served up a lot of turkey.
— image credit: The NEWS/files

It was a busy holiday season for staff and volunteers at the Salvation Army Caring Place.

The multi-function facility in downtown Maple Ridge provides food, shelter and support to people in need.

Its cold-wet-weather shelter opened on Nov. 1 and provides refuge for an additional 30 people a night until the end of March, in addition to the existing 25 beds it offers year-round.

The shelter has been at 75 per cent capacity since before Christmas, and that number is expected to rise once the weather cools.

“Our aim is to never turn anyone away,” said  Amelia Norrie, Caring Place public relations coordinator. “If we did reach capacity, we would always find a place for people to stay.”

On Dec. 16, volunteers prepared 30 turkeys, 100 pounds of potatoes, 100 pounds of stuffing, 50 pounds of broccoli and served 100 pounds of ice cream for the dinner for the Caring Place’s annual Christmas dinner, which 340 people enjoyed.

“That was a little above average,”  Norrie said. “We prepare for over 300 people and were happy to feed so many.”

The Caring Place also gave out 50 turkeys to families in need along with 52 Christmas hampers that helped out 207 people.

The Salvation Army served an additional 500 meals during the Christmas Haven at the ACT this year.

The Salvation Army’s annual kettle campaign ended on Dec. 24, with the target of $74,000 reached during the final week. Over 150 volunteers took part in the campaign, clocking 7,500 hours.

“We raised about $90,000 [in the Christmas kettle campaign]. We superseded our target by 20 per cent,” says Norrie.

Mail-in donations, however, were down by $25,000.

It helps that kettle campaign donations were up $15,000, Norrie said.

Donations help fund operations at the Caring Place.

This coming year, The Salvation Army Caring Place is expected to serve more than 100,000 meals for the hungry, as well as 3,900 more meals during the Saturday night street ministry.

The shelter expects to provide 10,000 shelter nights for the homeless along with 15 transitional housing beds.

Its back-to-school supplies program helps 120 students in the community, and gives out more than 30,000 nutritious bag lunches each year.

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