Community

Caring Place needs a few good ‘birds’

Food services manager at the Salvation Army’s Caring Place, Tim Sarsfield, puts a tray of turkey legs into the oven on Tuesday in preparation for Easter dinner.  - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Food services manager at the Salvation Army’s Caring Place, Tim Sarsfield, puts a tray of turkey legs into the oven on Tuesday in preparation for Easter dinner.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

The Salvation Army’s Caring Place Ministry is hoping to serve more than 300 people a home-cooked turkey dinner with all the fixings this Easter, and they need the help of the community to do it.

“We’re hoping to cook about 200 pounds of turkey,” said Darrell Pilgrim, director of the Caring Place.

He’s hoping generous members in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows community will help out the Salvation Army’s efforts to feed the needy, and donate turkeys to cooked off for the dinner.

The alternative is to take funds out of other programs the Caring Place offers to pay for the meal. The local shelter has 55 beds for the homeless, and provides school supplies and nutritious lunches to underprivileged school kids.

In recent years, the demand for meals the Caring Place offers has increased.

When Pilgrim first came to the Caring Place three and a half years ago, the local Salvation Army was providing 6,000 to 7,000 meals every month. These days, Pilgrim says, the Caring Place provides close to 9,000 meals every month, serving some 600 individuals.

“The vast majority aren’t homeless, they’re on disability, they have mental health and addiction issues, and there’s a lot of people just struggling to get by,” he said.

Pilgrim has seen an increase in the number of families and seniors taking advantage of the shelter’s free meals.

“The cost of rent has gone up, gas has gone up, but not salaries [or benefits],” he said. “The price for even a one bedroom apartment is ridiculous.”

The annual Easter turkey dinner takes place on Good Friday from 5 to 6 p.m., and is open to all who wish to attend.

“Our meals are open to everyone, regardless or race, religion, or circumstance,” said Pilgrim. “We serve everybody, and we’re here to help.”

• Anyone willing to donate a turkey for the Caring Place’s Easter dinner can call 604-463-8296, or email tim.sarsfield@caringplace.ca.

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