Growing up Help Portrait

Organizer Brenda Garcia has seen families grow over the past six years the event has been held in Maple Ridge.

Alysha Warren poses with her children Luka Ewasew

Hundreds of people turned out for family portraits at this year’s Help Portrait.

“We had 255 people. A little bit higher than last year, but for sure not the highest we’ve ever had,” said organizer Brenda Garcia.

Only 45 people took advantage of the hair and makeup artists who were available for the event.

There were more than enough volunteers.

“So nobody was run off their feet and all the volunteers could enjoy the day and spend time with the people who came for portraits,” Garcia said.

Richard Stewart, who played Santa Claus, sat in a rocking chair beside a Christmas tree and fireplace set on the stage in the hall at Golden Ears United Church.

Parents were able to take their own photographs of their children sitting on Santa’s lap.

“He ended up wearing the suit basically all day,” laughed Garcia, who was worried Stewart might end up getting too hot.

There was lots of food available, including chicken and pastries, baked goods and sandwiches, donated by the volunteers, the church congregation, the Salvation Army and others.

Children were entertained with games, reading and colouring, and they were also be able to make and take home a Christmas tree ornament.

Garcia would still like to see more people come out.

“We would like the people who used the event this year to tell their friends about it,” said Garcia.

She sees a lot of familiar faces every year.

“It’s nice to see their families growing and build that relationship with people over the years. Like I’ve seen these people’s kids grow up over the last six years.”

Help Portrait was founded in 2009 by American photographer Jeremy Cowart.

To date, 370,568 portraits have been given out by 73,241 volunteers who have taken part in 2,803 events in 67 countries worldwide.

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