Josh Penner, CEO of Meridian Meats & Seafood, in the location at Dewdney Trunk Road and 227th Street. (The News files)

Meridian re-ignites its fundraising program to help local charities

A Maple Ridge-based food market aids in raising $50,000 during the first 10 months of its program

A local food market is relaunching its community fundraiser, as B.C. enteres Phase 3 of the BC Restart plan.

Meridian Farm Market, which includes a store in Maple Ridge, has helped local groups and organizations raise more than $50,000. And motivated by what fundraising coordinator Bryan Candy calls a growing demand for easy-to-manage fundraisers they have now re-ignited that effort.

“Due to Phase 1 COVID-19 restrictions, the Farm Fresh Fundraiser program was temporarily paused from mid-March through most of June while residents adjusted to social-distancing measures and stayed home as much as possible,” he said.

“However, with people returning to work, the need for fundraisers is still very evident and, in some industries, more urgent than ever.”

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Groups or organizations sell Meridian gift cards and keep 30 per cent of the total funds collected.

Scouts Canada was the first organization to jump aboard again, Candy said. And that organization, for example, has participated in the program twice this year.

“They’ll sell Meridian gift cards for a couple of weeks to friends and family, then the Scouts group keeps 30 per cent of the total raised for equipment, events, etc.” he explained.

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Since its kickoff last September, Meridian’s Farm Fresh fundraiser program has helped more than 60 clubs, teams, groups, and organizations throughout the Lower Mainland to raise more than $50,000.

“It’s heart-warming to help such a variety of people: Scouts Canada, local sports teams, church groups, and hospice societies for example. It’s a wonderful way for us to connect with our communities on a more personal level and to help those in need,” Candy said.

Meridian Meats & Seafood was founded in Port Coquitlam in 1989 by Darrell and Brenda Penner.

Their eldest son, Josh, purchased the company in 1996 and, with his wife Amanda, opened a second location in Maple Ridge in 2004.

Soon after, brother-in-law, Brody, joined as CFO and Josh’s younger brother, Kevin, was enlisted as the company’s COO.

Today Meridian has farm market locations in Maple Ridge, Tsawwassen, North Vancouver, and Mission, as well as meat and seafood locations in Port Coquitlam, Langley, and White Rock.

Meridian is also the new owners of Ralph’s Farm Market in the Murrayville neighbourhood of Langley.

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