Head of Ridge Meadows Sally Ann moving on

Darrell Pilgrim has taken new post on the Sunshine Coast

. (THE NEWS files) Darrell Pilgrim has been executive director of the Salvation Army for the last 11 years

As he gets ready to leave Maple Ridge, the Salvation Army’s Darrell Pilgrim feels local agencies are slowly catching up with the homeless issues that plague the city.

This will be the executive director’s last summer as the head of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.

In September, he will move to Gibsons, and take on the role of community ministries director for the Sunshine Coast. He is already splitting time between the two communities.

Pilgrim has been in Maple Ridge for 11 years, which is half of his career with the Salvation Army. Over that time, the demand for meals, for the homeless shelter and for other services has risen, he said.

“Unfortunately, the people are needing a place to live, and who are hungry, has increased a lot,” he said. However, Pilgrim sees Maple Ridge benefitting from having social service agencies willing to work together.

That’s unique to other cities where he has worked over his 22-year career, which saw stops in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Bellingham.

“It has been wonderful to work with all the community agencies as community partners,” he said. “The cooperation between agencies is unusual compared to other cities.”

For all the people on the streets or living in poverty, there are more willing to help.

“There is a huge number of people who want the best for Maple Ridge, and volunteers and people with huge hearts,” he added.

The Salvation Army has a hard-working staff, and about 200 volunteers, he said. “They are amazing people, who care about people.”

The opioid crisis and resulting homelessness has put a strain on these groups. The response to it has improved, said Pilgrim, but the solutions are bigger than the city.

“We’re on the right steps to it (a solution), but it’s not just a Maple Ridge problem. It’s a North American issue.”

Beyond problems of homelessness, Pilgrim is proud of other services offered here, like the Rotary school lunch program, and the back to school program that helped more than 500 kids last year, giving them a backpack full of school supplies

He said this August will see the third back to school fair, with free haircuts, information from community groups and a barbecue.

“It’s an opportunity for us to show these kids from vulnerable homes how much the community does care about them.”

These programs, helping people, have been his life’s work. Pilgrim grew up in the Sally Ann. Both of his parents worked for the organization in St. John’s, Nfld. and Halifax, N.S. He originally intended to be a musician, and went to the University of Western Ontario in London, getting a degree in music performance.

“I planned on becoming a professional tuba player,” he said.

Instead, he “was called” to follow in his parents’ footsteps. A trained brass player, he will continue quietly helping as many people in need as possible.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Halloween Howl to kick off festivities in Maple Ridge

Norman Foote concert with Yennadon elementary choir

Angel highlights the benefits of volunteerism at Ridge Meadows Hospital

Yvonne and John McDonald are nine-year volunteers at the hospital

Celebrate the salmon’s return in Maple Ridge

Return of the Salmon put on by KEEPS

UNTRENDING: Preparing kids for a digital life

Entrepreneur, speaker, and columnist Vicki McLeod offers some insight into children and cyberspace

Supercars in Pitt Meadows for Aidan’s Cup

Event raises $40,000 for Children’s Wish Foundation

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Man killed in Richmond had ‘no record of criminality,’ IHIT says

Stephen Chong, 58, was found dead in his business

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read