Donations for angels must be delivered by Dec. 9 to the Vancity Maple Ridge branch and by Dec. 13 to the Pitt Meadows Vancity. (THE NEWS/files)

Donations for angels must be delivered by Dec. 9 to the Vancity Maple Ridge branch and by Dec. 13 to the Pitt Meadows Vancity. (THE NEWS/files)

Vancity Angel Tree helping those in need in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

The annual event helps those in need at Christmas

The 11th annual Angel Tree event has been kicked off at the Vancity Savings Credit Unions in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Christmas trees located in the front foyer of both buildings will be decorated with 33 paper angels with the names, ages and Christmas lists of children in need in the community.

“It’s something we’ve been doing ever since the branch opened, so 11 years, our staff and membership are looking to support the community during this time,” branch manager Maryvonne Taft said about the Christmas tradition.

“And it’s a big hit, we’ve already had some angels picked up and presents returned already,” said Taft.

Four of the 33 angels have had their wish lists fulfilled already.

Taft says there are regular people who come every year to pick an angel and they know when they put up their tree.

The names for the angels come from the Pitt Meadows Food Bank, for whom they are also accepting donations of non-perishable food items, personal care items like shampoos and soap and baby items like diapers and wipes.

The Vancity Credit Union in Maple Ridge has only seven angels left to fill, although they are hoping they get more angel lists before their final deadline. Their tree went up Nov. 2 and also had 33 angels on it.

This year they are working with Cythera Transition House Society, a transition house that provides a safe refuge and basic necessities for up to 30 days for women and children fleeing abuse, and Blue Door Youth Services run through the CEED Centre Society, that offers barrier-free programs for youth aged 13 to 24 that are homeless, at risk of being homeless or experiencing mental health issues.

To date the Maple Ridge credit union has helped 519 children in the community through the Angel Tree program and after this year they expect to have helped 555 children.

“We feel like there’s a lot of people who could use help and it’s an easy way to do it,” said account manager Gina Leblanc at the Maple Ridge location.

“And we can share with our members to help the community together,” she said.

The deadline for donations is Dec. 9 at the Vancity Maple Ridge at 22824 Lougheed Highway. The deadline at the Pitt Meadows Vancity at 19800 Lougheed Highway is Dec. 13.

For more information call 604-877-7000.

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