One morning in November, more than half a dozen individuals, both staff and residents, at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre (FRCC) in Maple Ridge helped to unload boxes of toys and gifts from four trucks.
For 15 years, FRCC has helped the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society behind the scenes, to help make the holidays brighter for hundreds of families. Last year, the hamper society helped 400 families – some of them families of people who are incarcerated over the holidays.
Meanwhile, at nearby Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW), residents have worked all year like Santa’s elves to give back. Using donated wool, they have crocheted hundreds of hats, scarves and blankets. Many centre residents learned to crochet and then donated their recreation time to produce the cozy gifts.
Their creations have gone to community organizations to comfort people and their four-legged friends. This year, Maple Ridge Community Services received boxes of scarves, hats and blankets to provide to seniors living independently, single mothers, children in foster care, people in shelters and others in need. Blankets went to the Maple Ridge SPCA and Katie’s Place, a cat shelter, to provide cozy comfort for injured and abandoned animals.
Jack, a gentleman who received a blanket in 2017, said at that time it was his sole gift that Christmas. This year, one of the centre residents remembered Jack and made a special blanket just for him.