From left, firefighter Adam Taylor, Capt. Chris McKee, and firefighters Derek Lowe and Noah Redfern, will be shaking their boots for donations this Saturday for the Friends In Need Food Bank. (Special to The News)

From left, firefighter Adam Taylor, Capt. Chris McKee, and firefighters Derek Lowe and Noah Redfern, will be shaking their boots for donations this Saturday for the Friends In Need Food Bank. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows firefighters shaking their boots for the food bank this weekend

New, unwrapped toys for the Christmas Hamper Society will also be collected in Pitt Meadows

Firefighters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows will be shaking their boots in front of various retailers in support of the local food bank.

In Pitt Meadows firefighters will be collecting cash donations along with new, unwrapped toys, and non-perishable food items for both the Friends In Need Food Bank and the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

They will be wearing Santa hats in front of the BC Liquor Store, Real Canadian Superstore, and Tim Hortons at Meadowtown Centre, at 19800 Lougheed Highway. And in front of Starbucks, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Save-On-Foods at MeadowVale Centre, 19150 Lougheed Highway.

“We have participated in the event each December for just over 20 years now,” explained deputy fire chief David Biggin, adding that they cancelled the drive last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, though, they collected $10,400 in donations, and an additional $1,700 the night of the CP Christmas Train – including 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food. This year they CP Train is going to be virtual, so there will be no opportunities for fundraising.

“Our 2021 goal would be to meet or better the great year we had in 2019,” said Biggin.

Biggin noted that the Pitt Meadows department looks forward to December every year specifically because of this event as they enjoy being out in the community and talking to the people they serve.

“Our department and our membership look forward to December each year and specifically this event. It allows us to be out in our community meeting and talking to the people we serve.

“It allows our members a chance to be apart of their community and give back in a personal format, which is a large reason that many of them became firefighters. To give back,” remarked Biggin. “BC specifically has had a tough year and half, our members are proud to continue this long time tradition and be able to support local charities that will provide for local families this Christmas.”

”We can all have a small part in providing families the extra assistance they need in the hopes to make their Christmas a bit better,” he said.

The drive will be taking place from 10-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11.

In Maple Ridge firefighters will be out as well – same day and time frame.

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Last year their drive was also cancelled because of the pandemic but in 2019 they managed to raise between $15,000 and $16,000, which is pretty consistent with previous years, said fire chief Michael Van Dop.

They will be collecting primarily cash and non-perishable food donations for the Friends In Need Food Bank– but will accept new, unwrapped toys as well.

The Maple Ridge department has also been participating in the campaign for more than 20 years.

“Firefighters are keen to get out and do it this year because we missed out because of COVID last year and we know there’s a lot of need in the community,” said Van Dop.

Last year, he noted, even though they didn’t hold the official boot drive, they were still able to make some donations to the food bank.

“But it was nothing by comparison to what we can realize when we are out in the community and getting the support from citizens,” he said.

This year firefighters in Maple Ridge will be in front of the three Save-On-Foods locations – 227 and Lougheed Highway, 203 Street and Lougheed Highway, and 240 Street and Dewdney Trunk Road– No Frills, FreshCo, and Walmart.

The drive is being organized by the new charitable society, Maple Ridge Firefighter Charitable Society, in coordination with the fire department.


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