The spirit of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Shines Brightly again this year as U.S. and Canadian Trains again raise money, food and awareness to battle hunger throughout North America. It’s the longest-running food pantry fundraiser with its unique journey through the Midwest, Northeast and across Canada in a cross-border mission to feed our communities.
The decorated freight trains have been riding the rails through eight states and six Canadian provinces. This writer caught up with the train in Marquette, after leaving Guttenberg to benefit Clayton County Food Shelf.
Thousands of lights were seen in the distance as the crowd’s excitement rose as the Holiday Train approached Marquette to raise money and food for the Clayton County Food Shelf. Last year Clayton County’s stop gained the Food Shelf $1,344.39 and 1,218 pounds of food. Besides decorated with thousands of lights and decorations, there also was great entertainment. Performing the spirit of the season from a specially designed stage on the U.S. Holiday Train was Melanie Doane.
Admission was a non-perishable food item or cash for the area food pantries.
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. Each Holiday Train has 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.
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. The Holiday Trains began its three-week journey end of November and continues until mid December.
Their website says, “Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has helped raise $4.8 million and generated almost 2.3 million pounds of food donations for local food shelves. Canadian Pacific operates a North American transcontinental railroad providing freight transportation services.” Tonight the train went through New Hampton, Fort, Calmar, Ossian and beyond until it reached Marquette and then kept going up into Canada.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.