The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Hundreds turn out to Help Portrait Ridge Meadows

The annual event gives out free family portraits to those in need

Hundreds of people turned out for the 8th annual Help Portrait event in Maple Ridge on Saturday.

Help Portrait is an occasion where photographers, editors, hair stylists and makeup artists come together for an afternoon of free portrait sessions for those who may not otherwise be able to afford to have a professional photograph taken.

“People who can afford it may take for granted that they have records of their family to look back on,” said organizer Brenda Garcia.

“But there are families that don’t have that opportunity,” she added.

Every family leaves with a free eight-by-10-inch framed portrait.

Last year, there were about 270 people who attended the event.

This year there were four photo booths, a hair and makeup station, a children’s activity station, and festive music at Golden Ears United Church, where the event was held.

Children were entertainment at stations that featured games, reading, colouring and crafts.

Light snacks were provided by the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

Every participant received a mini-makeover, including makeup and a hairstyle before sitting down for their portrait.

“It’s been a really amazing day and all of our volunteers are pulling together and filling in the gaps where we have them,” said Garcia.

“It’s nice seeing the same kids come back every year with their families and we’re really thankful that it’s not raining this year,” Garcia added.

Help Portrait is a global event that takes place in 67 countries and 3,049 locations around the world on the same day.

Globally, 381,856 portraits have been created collectively by 75,442 volunteers.

The event was founded in 2009 by American photographer Jeremy Cowart.

To date, Help Portrait Ridge Meadows has served more than 1,200 people since it started in 2011.

• For more information or to donate, go to helpportraitridgemeadows.com or email smile@helpportraitridgemeadows.com.

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The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

The 8th annual Help Portrait Ridge Meadows event at Golden Ears United Church on Saturday. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

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