Ready for Christmas Haven

As the 16th annual Christmas Haven draws near, donations are still needed to provide a merry Christmas for those in need.

Gift or cash donations, especially for teens and adults, are needed the most.

"We always seem to get lots of toys for kids, but the main category that we don't is for teens and adults," said Corisa Bell, head of promotions for the Christmas Haven.

Bell suggests gift cards for the older age groups.

Christmas Haven brings people together on Christmas Eve to provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie over the holiday season for those who face hardship and a lack of support.

It is a non-denominational event that provides a free, warm welcoming atmosphere for people of all ages, ethnicity and socio-economic status. It is also wheelchair accessible.

The evening will include a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings catered by the Salvation Army, as well as a Christmas carol sing-a-long, children's activities and a visit from Santa, who will be giving gifts to everyone who attends.

Entertainment for the evening will include the Maple Ridge Concert Band, Maple Ridge Dance Circle and local singer and songwriter Rory MacRury.

More than 300 people attended the event last year, the most in 16 years, and Bell is expecting the same, if not more this year.

"It is a great community event. It's for anyone who would like somewhere to be on Christmas Eve and may not have somewhere to be." said Bell.

For the second year in a row, a taxi service will be available for seniors or anyone with mobility issues that would have a problem getting there on their own.

The service is free and will pick each client up from home, drive them to the event and bring them home again. The service must be booked in advance by calling 604-465-8085.

Gift donations can be dropped off at Temptations Salon and Spa at 22470 Dewdney Trunk Road in Maple Ridge and the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre. Cash and debit donations can be made at both the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows leisure centres.

Christmas Haven takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 24, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The ACT in Maple Ridge.