Outgoing Salvation Army executive director Darrel Pilgrim with Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows MP Dan Ruimy and school board trustee Kim Dumore. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Hundreds of children ready for back-to-school thanks to the Salvation Army

The third annual fair took place on Wednesday

Hundreds of children received new backpacks filled with all the essentials for school at the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries’ annual back-to-school fair.

The third annual fair was held Wednesday afternoon at the Maple Ridge Baptist Church.

Around 400 students received a backpack at the event that also included a day at the fair with a free hot dog lunch, complete with chips and a drink, free haircuts and styles from professional hairstylists who donated their time and free cotton candy and popcorn provided by Maple Ridge Christian Reformed Church. There was also a bouncy castle and a pair of llamas.

“In the bags is a full kit. So binders, pencils, pens, erasers, scissors, everything that a kid needs to start the school year off,” said outgoing Ridge Meadows ministries’ executive director Darrel Pilgrim.

RELATED: Salvation Army sending record number of kids to camp

Last year, they helped more than 500 children.

Fundraising coordinator with the Ridge Meadows Ministries Belinda Carlaw, said this year they had to limit who they served in the community and a couple of agencies that they helped last year, they were unable help this year.

Carlaw said the free backpacks and school supplies are for vulnerable and low income families and registration is done through the Salvation Army prior to the fair.

RELATED: Head of Ridge Meadows Sally Ann moving on

They also work with the school district throughout the school year.

“This past June, we gave the school board 1,000 pamphlets to hand out to those they felt would benefit from this program,” said Carlaw adding that they also help other agencies including the Friends In Need Food Bank and another Salvation Army.

The program is run in partnership with Staples where they purchase the backpacks and supplies at a reduced cost and Canadian Tire Maple Ridge that has donated 100 backpacks to the program over the last two years. They also receive monetary donations from many businesses as well.

The cost is about $75 per child, which does not include the cost of putting on the fair.

“Our desire is to make sure that every vulnerable child enters the school year with the necessary supplies to have a successful year. We believe that by equipping them with a good start, they will have a higher chance of success,” said Carlaw.

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries has been giving out free backpacks and supplies for 17 years. The first year there were only 20 students that grew to 80-100 students shortly after.

Agencies that had booths at the fair included: the Maple Ridge Fire Department; the Maple Ridge Public Library; Maple Ridge Parks and Recreation; the Maple Ridge branch of the B.C. SPCA; Immigration Services; Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association; Literacy Council; School District 42 Parent Council; Public Health Nurse; and several local churches.

“The kids we are helping today, they are vulnerable in our community and this is a chance for us to show them that we care about them and believe in them and the future that they can have,” said Pilgrim.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


The Maple Ridge Fire Department was at the Salvation Army (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Darrel Pilgrim, outgoing executive director of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries holds a bag filled with school supplies that they gave out at the fair on Wednesday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Phoenix Blais, 8, who will be going into Grade 3 at Eric Langton elementary enjoyed a free haircut and style at the back-to-school fair.(Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Just Posted

City puts moratorium on pot-growing applications

Maple Ridge will regulate growing and processing on ALR properties

Maple Ridge musician finds inspiration in Thailand

Bob Westfall has recorded many songs and music videos in Asia

Super 30 screening at ACT in Maple Ridge

Movie is based on international best-selling book by Maple Ridge doctor

Camp closing means it’s time to heal and move on, says MLA

Watershed moment for Maple Ridge, says D’Eith

Local rink wins King Cash Spiel

Ryan Rink wins World Curling Tour event in Maple Ridge

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Kamloops high school evacuated after receiving threat

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

VIDEO: Angry B.C. cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Most Read