(From left) Joyce Walker, Ruby Davison, Jeri McBeth, Joyce Herrod, Sonja Calson, Bea Enns and Bev Schmahmann are with Seniors Helping Santa. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

(From left) Joyce Walker, Ruby Davison, Jeri McBeth, Joyce Herrod, Sonja Calson, Bea Enns and Bev Schmahmann are with Seniors Helping Santa. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge seniors helping Santa

Giving to seniors at risk in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Joyce Walker and Joyce Herrod have seen many things in their more than 90 years.

For instance, they noticed there are many seniors throughout Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows who don’t have a lot for Christmas.

So in 2006, the two ladies, along with one other, started Seniors Helping Santa.

The idea was to get donations and hand them out to seniors at risk.

“We felt there was a need for it,” said Walker.

That first year, the ladies asked those in need to come to a room at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, Seniors Activity Centre.

“But they didn’t come in for the simple reason because they didn’t want people to know their situation,” said Walker.

So the ladies made up packages and tried to reach people through organizations like the Friends In Need Food Bank and Meals On Wheels.

RELATED: Donations wanted for at-risk seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Now, Bev Schmahmann, information and referral-outreach services with the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, makes a list of people who need a package by approaching community organizations herself.

“We try to identify the most need,” said Schmahmann.

Once, she delivered a bag to a man who she could see was in need. It turned out he hadn’t seen anyone in three months and cried when he received the package.

The group of seven ladies will be making up around 100 gift bags, 65 for women and 35 for men.

The group has partnered with London Drugs, which has a Christmas tree on display outside the store at ValleyFair Mall.

On the tree, there are three different tags with a list of eight items on each.

All 24 items will go into a bag for a senior in need, including a toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, soap, toilet paper, deodorant, socks, scarf, gloves, pens and notepads.

People wishing to donate are encouraged to purchase the items on a tag and leave the items at the store, where they will be picked up and put into the gift bags by volunteers.

Jeri McBeth, a volunteer, is one of six drivers this year who will be distributing the packages for the first time.

“We can see the need in the community” said Jeri, who drives seniors to doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping.

She will then report back to Schmahmann if she sees someone who could use a Christmas package.

Gift bags are also brought given to the Katzie First Nation .

Students at Maple Ridge secondary bake shortbread cookies to be included in the packages. Pitt Meadows elementary students and children at Stardom Childcare make Christmas cards that are included as well.

This year, Walker will dress up as Mrs. Claus to encourage donations during the holiday season.

• Cash donations to the program can be dropped off at the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society, Seniors Activity Centre at 12150 – 224 Street.



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

Just Posted

The annual call for applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program will remain open until January 29, 2021. (Pixabay)
Still time for Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows businesses to sign up for Canada Summer Jobs program

Public and private sector employers eligible for 75 per cent wage subsidy reimbursement

(News files)
Pitt Meadows receives $3.7 million for COVID-19 costs

Provincial grant will cover funding shortfalls and new expenses

(Ronan O’Doherty/The News)
Fire at house on Creekside in Maple Ridge

Residents putting out fire inside garage as firefighters arrive

Tristan points to all the spots on a map of Canada his joke book has been sent. (Special to The News)
Pitt Meadows boy raises $6,000 for local charities through sales of joke book

Tristan Kennedy’s A Reason to Smile sold more than 500 copies across Canada, and around the world

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read