Christina Shearmeis the community network coordinator for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network. (Special to The News)

Christina Shearmeis the community network coordinator for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network. (Special to The News)

NETWORKING: Community given glimpse into new street outreach services

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network hears from CSO Chad Cowles and STORM

by Christina Shearme/Special to The News

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network meets monthly to connect the hard-working agencies and services in our community.

At our meetings, we have to opportunity to learn about the projects that are going on. The group invites a wide range of community groups and services to present and share ideas that strengthen our communities.

This fall, we were introduced to the new City of Maple Ridge project called the community social safety initiative, as well as the wonderful work being done by the Ridge Meadows Community Action Table.

This article highlights the valuable information sharing that takes place during community network meetings, with no intention to show preference to any program or service.

During our September meeting, we were introduced to Chad Cowles, who joined the community social safety initiatives as manager in February, where he leads a team of community safety officers who seek to redefine how the bylaw department engages with the vulnerable sector while supporting citizens and the business community.

If you would like to learn more about this City of Maple Ridge initiative, please visit their website, and consider watching a brief video explaining more.

The network also continued to learn about the work being done by Ridge Meadows Community Action Table, also known as STORM (Stop Overdose Ridge Meadows).

This table has provided access to harm reduction and they work as a connection point to community supports and services as needed.

Recently they have been able to increase access to nutritious food for those experiencing food security issues.

The STORM team recently added a peer navigator position, allowing for more boots on the ground and additional peer support for the community.

STORM works to increase compassion and decrease stigma as it pertains to the opioid crisis. The food security projects were identified and created due to COVID-19.

Fortunately, their funders allowed this shift in the work to support gaps as they came up.

Through this initiative, 90 brown bag lunches, as well as harm reduction and outreach, are being provided weekly out of the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m.

On Friday nights, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., 75 takeaway community meals are served from the STORM van on 224th Street and the Golden Ears church.

The STORM table can be found on Facebook and Instagram @stopoverdoserm.

Every month the community network meetings provide the opportunity to hear from many individuals doing the work in our community that is making a difference.

If you are interested in joining our community meetings please contact the community network at info@resourceyourcommunity.com to learn how you can get involved.

– Christina Shearme is the coordinator for Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Network

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