Food For The Soul is offering support for the homeless population from its store on the Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge. (Neil Corbett/The News)

Food For The Soul is offering support for the homeless population from its store on the Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge. (Neil Corbett/The News)

New Maple Ridge charity hosts Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser

Food For the Soul will host annual event that has moved online for 2021

Food for the Soul, one of the newest non-profit societies in Maple Ridge, is participating in the Coldest Night of the Year event next month.

The annual fundraiser that raises money for charities serving people who are experiencing homeless, hurt and hunger has gone virtual. Food For the Soul is co-hosting with the Immigrant Link Centre Society.

Founder and managing director Aida Tajbakhesh said the fundraiser will be used to expand the food program at Food for the Soul. They offer ready-made meals to people who are homeless, seniors or others who stop at their location at 101-22347 Lougheed Hwy.

“We give them sandwiches, a coffee, and a chat,” said Tajbakhesh. “It’s a way to connect with the community.”

Her goal with Coldest Night of the Year is to raise $20,000 – but she admits she settled on that figure somewhat arbitrarily, because the event takes place on Feb. 20.

“I’ll be grateful for whatever support we get,” she said of the first-time participation in the national fundraiser.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Maple Ridge’s Food For The Soul Project doing great work

Still, her organization is off to a solid start already, with 16 walkers and four teams already signed up. Marissa Stalman is already showing $550 in donations raised on the event web page, and the event has more than $1,100 raised so far.

The event is done virtually, so people gather in their own Covid-safe bubble on the day in February they choose, plan a walk of from 2-5 km, let someone know where they are going and share online as they go, to #cnoy21.

“Take fun photos with the toques and everything,” said Tajbakhesh.

Walkers who raise $150, or $75 for children under 18, will receive a CNOY toque as thanks. They can be picked up at Food For the Soul or claimed online.

For more information see

Food for the Soul helps community members who are struggling with substance abuse, addictions, mental health, food insecurity, homelessness, and other social support deficiencies.

“As many are falling through the cracks, the need for support is high, and we see it daily, so we have taken the initiative to care for our community members,” said Tajbakhesh.

READ ALSO: Record-breaking year for Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Christmas kettle campaign

The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry has been a participant in the Coldest Night of the Year walks, but will not be doing so this year.

“Food For the Soul is doing it, which is great – it’s a great organization,” said Mark Stewart, executive director.

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