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Special helpers set up toy barn for Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

Volunteers from the Ridge Meadows Minor Baseball Association helped with set up at the Albion Fairgrounds for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society. (Special to The News)

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society had some extra help this year with set up.

On Friday, Nov. 19, a group of local Realtors volunteered their time to help set up tables in the barn for toys.

“In the past, the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper has been able to take physical donation from our efforts with the Real Estate Boards Blanket Drive, but this year with Covid, they again cannot take those clothing donations,” said Justin Hennessey with RE/MAX Lifestyles Realty.

So, when they were asked to help with manpower to move tables from storage – volunteers who also had the use of trucks and trailers – Hennessey said he received a “yes” from almost all of his colleagues.

Tina Kirkpatrick, director of the Christmas Hamper Society asked Hennessey to try to get about four to five people to help.

“But we figure more hands makes for light work,” said Hennessey.

He got 10 others to volunteer their time: Paul Craik, Benjamin Forbes, Austin Towne, Connor Redmond, Jason Hutton, and Hennessey with RE/MAX Lifestyles; Matt Bastien and Logan Eskesen with Keller Williams Realty; Kim Boekhorst and Josh Craig with eXp Realty; and Jack Scott with Royal LePage Brookside Realty.

“It is a collective effort of volunteer Realtors throughout Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” said Hennessey, adding that they will also be there to help with the take down on Dec. 19.

And Realtors were not the only people willing to help out.

Volunteers from the Ridge Meadows Baseball Association also stepped up to the plate.

About 27 volunteers turned out at the Christmas Hamper Society on Saturday, Nov. 20, to lend a helping hand.

They were charged with going to the storage lockers to pick up all the toys, deliver them to the fairgrounds, unload them, and help put them out on the tables in the appropriate areas.

And, they did it in record time, noted Lorraine Bates, executive director of the Christmas Hamper Society.

In previous years, inmates from Fraser Regional Correctional Centre would pitch in with the set up, but were unable to do so this year and last because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wouldn’t be able to do it without them,” said Bates of all the volunteers.

“Without the initial setting up of the building, there wouldn’t be anything,” she said.

Registration is ongoing for the Christmas Hamper Society, and so far, it has been slow, Bates remarked.

“It’s still November and very often it starts picking up as soon as December comes. People don’t think we’re open so early,” she said.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Dec. 15.

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