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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


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

Maple Ridge Mounties hope someone recognizes this vandal

At least 25 vehicles were damaged overnight Saturday to Sunday in a north Maple Ridge neighbourhood

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

Elementary students are hoping the city will recognize Real Acts of Caring week

Pitt Meadows students participate in Real Acts of Caring week

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Most Read