Strip-a-thon raises $20,000, and counting

Bra auction was the most popular event, bringing in $8,900 alone for the Christmas Hamper Society

DJ Dave Shannon and server Romana Van Lissum will be helping Sunday.

DJ Dave Shannon and server Romana Van Lissum will be helping Sunday.

The 17th annual CaddyShack Strip-a-thon for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society was another huge success this year, raising more than $20,000 to help families in need.

“Right now we’re at $21,700,” Yvan Charette, general manager of the Haney Hotel, said Monday.

He still has to tally up sales from the bar on top of the extra money patrons brought in by offering up their own Canucks tickets for auction.

Charette says the event started slower than in previous years, but picked up as the afternoon wore on.

The bra auction was the most popular event, bringing in $8,900 alone for the Christmas Hamper Society. One bra was auctioned off for $1,800.

All the staff at the CaddyShack worked the event for free and donated half to all of their tips to the final total.

In addition, everyone who won the 50/50, says Charette, gave the money back.

“My staff really did an amazing job donating their time to the entire day,” Charette said. “They’re the reason why people turn out and donate thousands of dollars.”

It’s a really good feeling for us, he added.

“The Hamper Society gives all year long. They are just machines. I can’t say enough about what they do for our community.”

• Maple Ridge Panago franchise owner Dan Maki donated $1,000 of a $3,000 award to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society on Friday.

Maki was awarded an Eric C. Douglass Award through Royal Roads University, a university for working professionals.  The award is given to one or more commerce students who exhibit qualities of perseverance, hard work and vision to put ideas into action. The rest of the award money was divided between Cythera Transition House Society and the Friends In Need Food Bank.

Lorraine Bates, co-chair of the Christmas Hamper Society, invited Maki to tour the facility because, she said, you can only see the big picture when you see the building. After the tour, Maki presented a cheque for $1,000.

“Like the Christmas Hamper Society, my philanthropic efforts through my Panago franchise are done because I believe that business has a role, even an obligation, to play in developing healthy communities,” he said.

It was timely given the hamper society’s donations are down right now.

The budget for the Christmas Hamper Society is $75,000, and so far only $20,000 in donations has been raised.

• The West Coast Express Santa Train will be making its first trip from Mission to Waterfront Station in Vancouver on Saturday.

Anyone bringing a toy or cash donation for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society will get a return ticket on the train, which will be leaving Mission City station at 10 a.m. and arrive at Port Haney station at 10:17 a.m., Maple Meadows station at 10:23 a.m., and Pitt Meadows station at 10:27 a.m. It will arrive at Waterfront station at 11:15 a.m..

After Christmas shopping downtown Vancouver, ticket holders will be able to take part in the second annual open house at Waterfront station. In addition to face painting and arts and crafts, there will be live musical entertainment and Santa Claus will be on hand for photos.

The return train leaves Waterfront station at 5 p.m.. The second Santa Train, following the same schedule, takes place on Dec. 17.

• The Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows fire departments will be shaking their boots this Saturday to raise money and collect toys and food for the Friends In Need Food Bank and the Christmas Hamper Society.

The Firefighters For Families Food Drive will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at various locations around town.

In Maple Ridge, firefighters will at both Save-On-Foods locations, Safeway, Coopers Foods, the south entrance to Haney Place Mall and the London Drugs entrance to ValleyFair Mall.

In Pitt Meadows, firefighters will be collecting at the IGA, both entrances to Superstore, the Meadowtown Centre Starbucks, and Signature Liquor Store.

More than $100,000 has been raised since this program began in 2002.

• The U-16 Bullets of the Golden Ears United Soccer Club made a special visit to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society on Friday to help organize donations.

“First born to five years is our largest area of donations,” explained Lorraine Bates, co-chair of the Christmas Hamper Society.

A lot of their donations in this age group come from Trendy Tots, a Maple Ridge children’s consignment store. What they can’t sell, they collect for us all year round and then the Christmas Hamper Society picks it up from them.

“We had this abundance,” says Bates. “In the past, it has piled up really high.”

This year, fifteen members of the girls’ soccer team, along with their coach Kevin Fletcher, assistant coach Marco Pucillo and four parents – Kathleen Aalten, Abby Bellamy, Casandra Maxwell and Donna Wong – formed an assembly line and finished the sorting in one hour.

“In an hour, a small, or should I say a very large miracle happened,” said Bates.