The 14th annual Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Haven will be held at the ACT again this year.
Everyone is invited to join in the holiday celebration on Dec. 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the ACT, located at 11944 Haney Place.
Every year the Christmas Haven brings people together on Christmas Eve to provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie for people who face hardship and a lack of support over the holiday season.
It will be a free, non-denominational event that will be wheelchair accessible for people of all ages, ethnicity and socio-economic status.
“The main thing is that everyone is welcome. It’s for anyone,” says organizer Corisa Bell. “It’s to provide a celebration for anyone who doesn’t have family in town or is alone at Christmas.”
This year, the Christmas Haven has teamed up with the Salvation Army, which will be catering the event.
A free hot turkey dinner will be served during an evening filled with musical entertainment, including a Christmas carol sing-a-long.
Children can look forward to crafts and colouring, and face-painting provided by the Emerald Pig Theatrical Society.
Finally, Santa Claus will pay a special visit to hand out a present to everyone.
Bell says the Christmas Haven is planning to serve around 300 people this year, but that there will be extras just in case more people attend.
Any leftover food will go back to the Salvation Army and toys will be kept for next year’s Christmas Haven, Bell added.
Since the Salvation Army will be providing the food this year, Bell says instead of turkey donations, the Haven is looking for cash donations and donations of presents for teenagers and adults, who are often overlooked.
Bell suggests gift cards since teens and adults are hard to buy for, but the Haven will accept any donation.
From Dec. 1-31, cash donations will be accepted at both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Leisure Centres, and donation boxes for toys and presents will be located at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre and at Curves in Maple Ridge at 22335 Lougheed Highway.
More volunteers will also be needed this year, says Bell.
And the sooner the better because every volunteer needs a criminal record check.
• For more information about volunteering contact Bell at 778-861-9477 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.