Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadow REALTOR® volunteers

Thanksgiving Day on Monday, October 10, marks the 20th anniversary of the Real Thanksgiving Meal, an annual event hosted by REALTORS® in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. 

Each year, the Real Thanksgiving Meal provides a free, hot Thanksgiving meal for up to 500 residents in the community who would otherwise go without. The cost of food is covered by local real estate offices. The elbow grease to prepare the meals is provided by local Realtors and their friends and family members.

“We’re honoured to continue this long-standing tradition started by our peers 20 years ago,” said Jeff Weaver, a Realtor in the community and one of the coordinators for this year’s meal.

Attendees typically include low-income families who can’t provide their own Thanksgiving meals and seniors who don’t have anyone to spend the holiday with.

“That’s why we do this,” said Weaver. “No one should go without a hearty meal on Thanksgiving, and it’s an incredible thing to see volunteers sacrificing time with their families to make someone else’s Thanksgiving a little more special.”

Over the years, the Realtors have enlisted other members of the community to lend a hand. For example, Thrifty Foods provides the turkeys and other food at a discount, and the Ridge Meadows Salvation Army provides the large-scale kitchen and staff for the food preparation – which is especially important because of FOODSAFE requirements. 

This year’s meal will be served at St. Patrick’s Church, 22561 121 Avenue, Maple Ridge. Doors open at 4 p.m. and meals will be served at 5 p.m.

Maple Ridge Realtor Sandra Wyant is one of the Real Thanksgiving Meal’s founders.

“The idea for this event came from my colleague Cathy Emmerson,” said Wyant. “We thought ‘This is a great idea, but how the heck are we going to pull it off?’ And we did with the help of a great group of fellow volunteer Realtors, many who still volunteer to this day for the event.

“After the first few years, we knew we needed some structure and systems so that we could pass this off to others and they could follow along. Irena Shantz stepped up and created a system for the meal that we still use today,” said Wyant.