Darrell Pilgrim, executive director of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries, says renovations to the office area and former home of Once Upon a Sheep will allow for 30 spaces for the facility’s temporary shelter. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Darrell Pilgrim, executive director of the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries, says renovations to the office area and former home of Once Upon a Sheep will allow for 30 spaces for the facility’s temporary shelter. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Once Upon A Sheep moving to new location in Maple Ridge

Yarn shop moving from Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries building to make space for temporary shelter

Once Upon a Sheep will be moving to a new home to make room for the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries’ temporary shelter.

The yarn shop was located on the east side of the Salvation Army building, located at the corner of the Haney Bypass and Lougheed Highway.

This weekend it will be moving to 22554 Lougheed Hwy., across from the Dollar Store.

“The Family Education and Resource Centre offered us some space in the spirit of help and cooperation. Hopefully it will be ongoing. Right now we have signed a lease and we are moving in,” said Connie McGonigal, family and community ministries with the Salvation Army.

The space in the old building that included the yarn shop and several administrative offices will be undergoing renovations. A wall will be torn down and another built to 30 spaces, but dividing those for male and female clients.

The Sally Ann will also put up more privacy doors and screens on windows.

“The reason we did all this is that last March, when we opened our temporary shelter in our dining hall, it quickly became evident to us that it wasn’t very comfortable for people,” explained Salvation Army executive director Darrell Pilgrim.

He said the idea of sleeping, eating and socializing in one area the whole day did not work.

“We quickly identified that problem last summer, so we’ve been looking for eight months,” he said of a new office space, which it found at Unit A, 11948 – 227 Street.

Currently, all of the Sally Ann administrative and community services offices have been moved into the new building.

Now, anybody looking to make a donation or to sign up to volunteer can do so at the new office.

The old building will still contain the shelter office, the spiritual care office and the transitional housing office. The only program that will continue to run out of the old office will be the community meal program.

Pilgrim said not a lot of money was being spent on the renovations and the Sally Ann is hoping to complete them within the next couple of months.

“We feel, at the end of the day, the comfort for the individuals we are serving is what needs to happen,” said Pilgrim, who expects to be at the current location for at least another year.

“We feel that a year is still a long enough time that we want to make it a secure, comfortable place for people,” he said.

Long term, the building will continue to house the community meal program, community services programs like Sonia’s Cradle, and the Salvation Army church.

Only housing will be moved to the future shelter location on Burnett Street, just north of Lougheed Highway.

That new supportive housing and emergency shelter facility will have up to 40 new supportive housing units and 40 shelter beds that the Salvation Army is hoping will be opened by the spring of 2019.

“Because we are going to have such a large building, we’re hoping to bring new programs and offerings to the community,” Pilgrim said of the current location.

Once Upon A Sheep first opened at the Salvation Army in 2002 and eventually fell under the umbrella of the Shepherds Heart Society, which later formed to run the yarn shop.

Proceeds from the shop go towards Sonia’s Cradle and other children’s programs at the Salvation Army.

McGonigal, who is also board member of the Shepherds Heart Society, is excited about the move.

“This is going to be a very good thing for us,” said McGonigal.

“It’s a store front. It’s not attached to the shelter so people are gong to feel more comfortable. There is more parking,” she added.

“And it is just more visible, there is more traffic.”

Once Upon A Sheep will be opening its doors at the new location on Feb 20, with at least coffee and tea, if nothing else is set up, said McGonigal.

The new location will be stocked with a greater variety of yarns, including indie and ones that are locally made.

Once Upon a Sheep will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and closed Mondays. The free Tuesday night drop-in will also continue at the new location.