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.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Work continues on Pitt Meadows own RCMP detachment

City studying whether to renovate offices or build new detachment

Maple Ridge Rotary clubs launch new lottery

Winner could take home up to $85,000

Outpouring of generosity for Christmas Hamper Society after safe stolen

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows group has recouped stolen $10,000 several times over

Seniors Food Bank starting again in Maple Ridge

The service will be offered every Monday

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

Most Read