A record number of people attended the 21st annual Christmas Haven at the ACT in Maple Ridge on Christmas Eve.
This year, 283 guests attended the event, which also had 61 volunteers.
Holly Henderson, volunteer coordinator with Christmas Haven, was pleased with the turnout.
“There seemed to be a lot more people just from the community, in general,” said Henderson, who had posted an invite to the event on different Facebook neighbourhood groups.
Christmas Haven is a free, non-denominational and wheelchair-accessible Christmas dinner, promoting a sense of belonging and camaraderie for those who don’t wish to be alone during the Christmas season.
Henderson noticed, in particular, this year that there were more immigrant families, new to the country, at the event than in the past.
The event welcomes families, seniors and individuals who are seeking a connection to the community at this time of year.
It is free and provides a festive atmosphere for guests along with a turkey dinner and fixings, local entertainment, children’s activities and a visit from Santa.
No reservations are required.
Every year, the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries cooks for the event.
And everybody who attends gets a gift.
Any leftover food is brought back to the Salvation Army.
Last year, 230 guests attended the event and there were about 70 volunteers.
Christmas Haven was started in 1998 by a group of community-minded volunteers.