North America's longest-running food bank fundraiser has already begun its unique trek across Canada as well as the U.S. in its cross-border mission to feed local communities.
The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train will be in Weyburn on Friday, December 17 at 7:45 p.m. at 512 Railway Avenue. The Weyburn Salvation Army will be at the site collecting donations for the local Food Bank.
"The Holiday Train's mandate remains strong and that is to help tackle hunger, regardless of borders or size of community," said Fred Green, CP president and CEO. "At this critical time of year, CP employees and thousands of volunteers in Canada and the United States are again joining together in helping those less fortunate."
Residents in about 140 cities and towns on both sides of the border will be able to join the Holiday Train spirit and magic, with all food and money raised at each stop staying in that community for local distribution. Both the Canadian and U.S. Holiday Train have 14 rail cars decorated with hundreds of thousands of festive lights. Included is a modified box car that has been turned into a traveling stage for performers. The two trains are assembled and decorated by CP employees in Montreal, Smith Falls and Calgary.
Performing the spirit of the season from the Holiday Train during Weyburn's stop will be Melanie Doane, with rising star Kelly Prescott joining the train for several shows, as well.
Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has raised $4.8 million and generated almost 2.3 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves.
"With our "HungerCount" 2010 survey showing a 9.2 percent increase in Canadians turning to their local food shelves in 2010 compared to 2009, the CP Holiday Train is a unique and creative program that gives people an opportunity to support their local food banks," said Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada.