The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries served up Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds of people on Monday.
About 250 people attended the 23rd annual event and enjoyed a full turkey dinner including all the trimmings: turkey; stuffing; vegetables; and dessert.
And, including seconds and takeout, organizers estimate that close to 300 meals were served, although they cooked for about 400 guests.
So, Mark Stewart, the new executive director of the local ministry, said they drove around the community handing out leftover meals to those on the street and to those at the shelter itself.
There were around 40 volunteers who helped out.
Last year around 400 people attended the event.
In 2016 300 meals were also served up.
“I don’t think the need for the dinner has changed at all,” said Stewart about the attendance which was about 150 less than in 2018.
He said he noticed more younger people at the event.
“Single mothers with their children. It shows that there is a need and maybe the need is changing. Maybe the need is moving more towards families that are struggling,” he said.
“An event like this is important because it brings families and individuals of the community to come together and share in the celebration of a Thanksgiving meal who do not have others to share it with,” said Belinda Carlaw with the organization.
The dinner, held in partnership with the Realtors of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, took place in the St. Patrick’s School gymnasium in Maple Ridge.
This week is Homelessness Action Week, formerly known as Homelessness Awareness Week, an annual week-long campaign held in over 20 communities in B.C.
In Maple Ridge, The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries will be hosting a Food Truck Festival on Thursday Oct. 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Memorial Peace Park.
Those who are homeless and marginalized will be able to receive a free meal from one of three food trucks: Great Wings; Big Reds Poutine; and TNT Wraps.
The Stop Overdose Ridge Meadows van will also be there to provide free coffee.
For those who want to support the event, meal tickets can be purchased for $10 with part of the proceeds going towards the free meals being served that day.
Last year, 103 free meals were served, and 43 people bought meals. The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries has been doing a Food Truck Festival for three to four years now.
Homelessness Action Week in 2019 takes place October 13-19 across metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.