Every Christmas Eve since 1998, a group of community-minded volunteers has organized a free, non-denominational, and wheelchair accessible Christmas dinner in Maple Ridge, promoting a sense of belonging and camaraderie for those who don’t wish to be alone during the Christmas season.
A Christmas Haven welcomes families, seniors and individuals who are seeking a connection to the community during the holidays.
Christmas Haven is held at The ACT in downtown Maple Ridge from 6-9 p.m. every Dec. 24.
The free event provides a festive atmosphere for guests and is the centre point for a dinner of turkey and fixings, local entertainment, children’s activities, and a visit from Santa.
No reservations are required.
The Christmas Haven is run by volunteers, operated by a committee and made possible through the generosity of the community.
Last year it attracted 250 people and organizers are expecting a similar number again.
The event will feature eight entertainers.
Haven committee chair Alyson Cuthbertson is grateful for all the people who help put on a Christmas Haven, and appreciates what it means to the community, providing a place to go on Christmas Eve.
“We welcome everybody,” she said. “We see a lot of smiles on everyone’s face when they leave at the end of the night.”
Santa gifts are still being collected for children who attend.
For adults and teens, new winter items such as hats, scarves, gloves, socks and toques are needed, as are $5 gift cards for Tim Hortons, McDonalds and Subway.
For children 10 and under, books are needed, along with toys and games.
Donations can be dropped off at Temptations Salon and Spa, 22470 Dewdney Trunk Rd., Maple Ridge, or Tuscany Salon and Spa, 19164 McMyn Rd., Pitt Meadows.
For monetary donations, mail to or drop off at Christmas Haven, Maple Ridge Festivals Office, 11925 Haney Place, Maple Ridge.
All donors will receive recognition during the evening of Christmas Haven.
“We thank you from the bottom to the top of our hearts for your donation,” Cuthbertson said.
“The holiday season can often be a lonely time of year and Christmas Haven is an event that offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” she added.
“The volunteers look forward to connecting with those guests who attend year after year as well as welcoming new guests to our unique event.”