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Free professional family portraits for those that need it most this Christmas in Maple Ridge

Help Portrait is back in-person for its 11th year
Help Portrait Ridge Meadows takes place Sunday Dec. 11 at Golden Ears United Church in Maple Ridge. (Contributed)

A professional family portrait is priceless – but costs a fortune for those who can’t make ends meet.

The good news is that Help Portrait is back again for its 11th year after a two year COVID-19 pandemic hiatus.

Help Portrait is a day for those in need to get a makeover, have a professional photograph taken of themselves and their family, and receive some Christmas cheer – during what may be a hard time for some.

Every year, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the event drew around 250-300 people, said organizer Brenda Norrie, noting her group of volunteers knew they had to bring the popular event back again.

“Our group of key volunteers got together to discuss what Help Portrait would look like this year, with the desire to keep our volunteers and our guests safe and healthy. We unanimously agreed that it was not just nice, but NECESSARY to bring Help Portrait back, and bring back that giving seasonal community spirit again,” Norrie said.

Around six professional photographers from across the community volunteer their time and equipment for the event, along with makeup artists, and hair stylists.

When participants arrive they are treated to a mini-makeover starting with their hair and then their makeup. There will be an entertainment station for children to take part in while their parents are getting dolled up.

And there will be pre-packaged sandwiches available for those waiting to have their photos taken.

At the end of the portrait session, every family goes home with a framed photograph.

The event is geared towards those who might be out of work, single moms and dads, refugees new to the community, people who are sick, lonely, or homeless.

“We know that things are especially tough this year, and so many families might not be able to afford those meaningful family or school photos,” said Norrie.

READ MORE: Hundreds turn out to Help Portrait Ridge Meadows

ALSO: Help Portrait helps hundreds in Maple Ridge

This year pre-registration is required for the event, in order to keep people safe, explained Norrie.

“Our core volunteers all agreed that we needed way to limit congregation in groups and keep people – visitors and volunteers – safe,” she said, adding that they want to be able to manage the flow of visitors, while still providing the same great experience.

And, she added, that people will find the same friendly, compassionate volunteers working together to serve individuals and families in need.

Pre-registration will take place from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 – either online or in-person.

The event itself takes place from 1-7 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 11, at Golden Ears United Church.

Norrie is still looking for experienced and professional photographers, editors, makeup artists, and hair stylists, as well as general volunteers for food preparation, and for sign in and directing visitors to where they need to go.

People wishing to register, volunteer, or donate online can go to To register in person go to Golden Ears United Church at 22165 Dewdney Trunk Road, in Maple Ridge.

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Members of the refugee family from Syria had their portraits taken at a previous Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event. (Contributed)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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