Together again at The ACT

By: Ronda Payne
Published: December 03, 2013

It takes a lot of work to put on an event as popular as Christmas Haven, but according to one event organizer, Maple Ridge Councillor Corisa Bell, cash and gifts are needed the most to make this year's event a continued success.

"It's such a special evening. It's something that people really want to be a part of," Bell said. "People feel really passionate about it. That's why volunteer spots fill up in September and October."

In fact, the volunteer positions for the 16th annual non-denominational evening already have a wait list.

For those who are unable to take part in person, but want to contribute to the event designed to bring the community together on Christmas Eve, a cash or gift donation would be appreciated by the organizers and attendees.

It is a free event for those who attend and certain costs associated with putting on a turkey dinner, entertainment, children's activities, and a visit from Santa - complete with gift - need to be covered by donors.

Cash donations will be accepted at either the Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows leisure centres, according to Bell.

Another need is gifts for those hard-to-buy-for teenagers as well as adults. Gifts can be dropped off at the leisure centres and at Temptations Salon, Bell noted.

But what kind of gifts are needed?

"I was thinking gift cards for the movie theatre, local bookstores, or Subway. Those kinds of things," said Bell.

A taxi service will be available for seniors again this year to ensure they are able to get to the event on Dec. 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. Seniors interested in the taxi service to get to Christmas Haven should contact 604-465-8085.

"If the event wasn't put on, there's nothing else like it in the community," Bell said. "No one has to be alone on Christmas Eve."

Regardless of age or socio-economic status, Christmas Haven is a warm, welcoming night of belonging and camaraderie for everyone.

For more information about Christmas Haven, email christmashaven@gmail.com, call Corisa Bell at 778.861.9477 or visit www.christmashaven.ca.