Marilynn McDonald, left, and Vicki Laleune, volunteers with Christmas Haven wrap presents. (Christina Waschko/Special to The News)

Marilynn McDonald, left, and Vicki Laleune, volunteers with Christmas Haven wrap presents. (Christina Waschko/Special to The News)

Christmas Haven delivering this Christmas Eve across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Christmas Haven provides Christmas dinner and gifts for those in need

People in need will still have a reason to celebrate this year as Christmas Haven, a Christmas eve celebration for those in need, will be delivered instead.

This year Christmas Haven and the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries have teamed up to deliver a traditional turkey dinner and gift packages to those needing extra help across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Christmas Haven is a free, non-denominational and wheelchair accessible Christmas dinner for those not wanting to be alone on Christmas Eve.

In previous years the event has taken place at the ACT Arts Centre, downtown Maple Ridge, and featured an in-person dinner, live entertainment, children’s activities, and a visit from Santa Claus.

READ MORE: Christmas Haven celebrates 20 years

However, that was not possible with the restrictions from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From our first meeting back in October we knew we wanted to continue with a Christmas Haven event,” said organizer Christina Waschko.

“There was no way we’re going to cancel our most loved and appreciated event,” she added.

On Christmas eve, volunteers at the Salvation Army will be cooking up a delicious Christmas feast with turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, gravy and cranberry sauce.

Then they will be delivering around 350 meals to people in need that are already registered with the charitable organization.

Volunteers from Christmas Haven will be offering an extra set of hands to help out in the kitchen, peeling potatoes and carrots, and to help packaging the meals.

Christmas Haven will also be contributing a gift and dessert bag.

READ MORE: Christmas Haven brings community together

Each gift bag will contain: a new, warm winter item; a gift card; a dessert bag filled with some sweets and a piece of fruit; and, new this year, a handwritten Christmas card.

More than 800 Christmas cards have been donated and 12 volunteers at Christmas Haven have written personal messages of love and hope that will not only go out with the meals on Christmas Eve, but will also be going to local senior care homes and other facilities.

Around 20 knitters produced an assortment of blankets, scarves and toques for the gift bags.

“We knew we still wanted to reach as many people possible and bring some Christmas cheer to our

community members in need,” said Waschko.

“We only had to figure out how exactly Christmas Haven 2020 would look and feel like.”

For more information call 604-812-2254, email christmashaven@gmail.com or go to christmashaven.ca.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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Vicki Laleune, left, and Marilynn McDonald, volunteers with Christmas Haven. (Christina Waschko/Special to The News)

Vicki Laleune, left, and Marilynn McDonald, volunteers with Christmas Haven. (Christina Waschko/Special to The News)