When the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train arrived Dec. 12, CP delivered a donation of $5,500 to the Creston Valley Gleaners Society Food Bank and Coun. Jen Comer announce that Mayor Ron Toyota had raised over $9,500, to be shared (based on individuals donors’ wishes) between the food bank and the Creston Ministerial Association’s Christmas hamper program. (Brian Lawrence – Creston Valley Advance)

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train boosts Creston Valley food bank

The Creston Valley Gleaners Society Food Bank and the Creston Ministerial Association’s Christmas hamper program received boosts after the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolled into town on Dec. 12.

CP representatives presented Gleaners a cheque for $5,500, while Coun. Jen Comer announced that Creston Mayor Ron Toyota’s Mayor’s Challenge raised about $9,800. Of that $9,800, donors directed about $6,900 of their funds to the food bank, and $2,900 to the Creston Ministerial Association’s Christmas hamper program.

“Our Creston Valley community is amazing in showing support for our local food bank and our ministerial hampers,” said Toyota. “My Mayor’s Challenge is a new opportunity and complements the Creston Valley Advance’s Community Greeting Card, Sue’s Clothesline’s great fundraiser, Pyramid Building Supplies and several others. It is those in our wonderful community who ‘give and then receive’ that is so great.”

The CP Holiday Train visits the Kootenays every two years, bringing with it a brief concert by notable performers — this year, three-time Juno-winning country singer Terri Clark and 2019 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Entertainer of the Year Dallas Smith — and encouraging communities to donate to their local food banks.

This year, 1,732 pounds of non-perishable food were collected for the Gleaners food bank, while volunteers handed out over 600 candy canes and 460 cups of hot chocolate.

“It shows the generosity of our hearts,” said Gleaners food services co-ordinator Terri Goulder. “It shows we’re looking out for our neighbours. We may not know they’re in need, but in doing that, we’re taking our blinders off.”

The CP Holiday Train has now raised more than $15.8 million and collected 4.5 million pounds of food since its inaugural journey back in 1999.

“The CP Holiday Train is a program that our 13,000-strong CP family has immense pride in bringing to communities every year,” said president and CEO Keith Creel. “Access to nutritious food is a basic necessity, and food bank usage is on the rise across North America. The CP Holiday Train program is our way to help in the fight against hunger by growing awareness of this issue, and providing a fun and engaging way for the public to show their support.”

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