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Ridge Meadows Salvation Army prepares over 1,000 Christmas dinners

Volunteers cooked and delivered meals on Christmas Eve
Vicki, a Christmas Haven volunteer, peels a huge amount of potatoes as part of preparing more than 1,000 Christmas dinners at the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows. (Christmas Haven Facebook/Special to The News)

While many of us enjoy our holidays with our loved ones, there are dedicated people in Maple Ridge who have given their time to help bring Christmas cheer to those in need.

The Salvation Army in Maple Ridge was preparing to serve more than 1,000 turkey dinners on Christmas Eve this year.

Staff at Ridge Meadows Ministry were already starting food preparation on Wednesday, and planning to get turkeys into their ovens by 6 a.m. on Christmas Eve. They needed an early start in order to get about 1,000 pounds of food cooked and served.

With new COVID-19 public health orders put in place this week, the Sally Ann planned a meal to go on Dec. 24. Traditionally, they serve a traditional Christmas dinner in to more than 500 people at their shelter location. For the last two years, this meal has been altered to meet COVID restrictions on large gatherings.

In addition to their annual community meal, The Salvation Army – in partnership with Christmas Haven and the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network – caters an annual dinner on Christmas Eve at The ACT to anyone who wishes to attend.

But last year, these community groups collaborated again but in a different way – they served meals by delivery from The Salvation Army’s shelter at 22188 Lougheed Hwy. Dozens of “elves” drove to various spots around town, and over 700 meals were served in Christmas 2020, explained spokesperson Amelia Norrie.

READ ALSO: Christmas dinners to be delivered this year for Christmas Haven

This year the event was again improvised to follow the new protocols, but with organizers this time preparing more than 1,000 meals – turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

“We see this as our gift back to the communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” said Mark Stewart, executive director at The Salvation Army Ridge Meadows.

“These two communities are so generous to our programming at Christmastime – whether it’s our Adopt-A-Family program or volunteering and donating at our Christmas Kettles – the Communities support us, and this meal is a small token of our appreciation.”

Volunteer drivers once again were delivering Christmas meals beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 24. They delivered to Coast Mental Health, Alouette Addictions, the Baptist Towers, Senior’s housing, and Inner Visions.

The Salvation Army’s own residents and guests will also get to enjoy a holiday meal on Christmas Day.

Pizza Pizza in Pitt Meadows donated pies to the shelter for lunch on the 24th, to allow the kitchen staff to focus on feeding outside members of our communities.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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