Born In England, Lorraine Bates moved to Pitt Meadows with her family in 1972, where she joined the local 4H club to help her foster son gain confidence and provide him with a place to feel like he could belong. Lorraine was an active leader of the 4H club for 15 years.

In 1990 Lorraine was volunteering at the Country Fest, where she met Tom Cameron. The two where both actively involved with other community events regularly but, came together in 1997 for The Christmas Hamper Society. In the past two decades, Lorraine’s entire family has either volunteered for and or is on the board of the Christmas Hamper Society.

Lorraine is truly grateful to the community and to her fellow volunteers saying “we are blessed with our volunteers…I’m just one person, there is a hundred standing behind me making me look good”. Then later adding that she feels that the volunteers that she deals with are incredibly committed to Maple Ridge, “It’s actually a long standing joke around here and that is that it is like Hotel California, because once they come to volunteer for us, they never leave”.

She has an incredibly strong volunteer background; and the many projects that she has taken on over the years have seem to have truly brought her enormous amounts of joy and pride within the city limits that she calls home. One of those many projects that she brought to the area was ‘Raise a Reader Foundation’. Lorraine together with many other volunteers collect reading materials for the drive every spring to improve literacy within the area. Lorraine is even grooming her ten year old granddaughter to follow in her steps by having her volunteer with the ‘Raise a Reader Foundation’ collection and sorting the materials with her after school.

When asked about the event that is most memorable for her, she replied “ When we do the Christmas Hamper, because of the gift shop, it shows the children the meaning of Christmas, and that is to give; and when I see them come out with smiles on their faces, that to me is what it is all about.”

While actively being involved with the Christmas Hamper Society, Country Fest, and the ‘Raise a Reader Foundation” Lorraine still makes time to also be involved with Ghost Ridge, which she helps set up every year with fellow volunteer Tom Cameron. All of her spare time has seemingly gone to the community and it has been very well received and recognised as she was awarded 2002 Citizen of the Year by The Maple Ridge Community Foundation.

Evidently, Lorraine’s primary passion for the community of Maple Ridge is what drives her to make the commitment that is needed to allow these amazing events to occur every year. The community of Maple Ridge is extremely fortunate to have her.

Story by Bailey Graham

Share This