The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is on its way across Canada for the 16th year in a row.
The brightly lit train left Montreal Nov. 26 and will make stops in several Shuswap communities, including Sicamous, Salmon Arm and Notch Hill on Monday, Dec. 15.
CP Rail organizers are aiming to generate healthier donations this year as the train makes its way across North America raising food, money and awareness for local food banks and food shelves.
The online #HealthyDonations Challenge encourages patrons attending Holiday Train events to take a second glance when pulling food out of their cupboards to ensure their non-perishable donations are nutritious and heart-healthy.
CP’s goal is to have 20,000 people take an online pledge to underscore how important it is that everyone has access to nutritious food.
Anyone who wishes to participate may do so at ‘You can show your commitment’ at http://bit.ly/1x6u4r8.
Food banks and food shelves welcoming the Holiday Train to their ommunity this year are also being asked to commit 10 per cent or more of CP’s monetary donation to healthy food initiatives or purchases.
“We’re excited to once again see CP’s Holiday Train travel across the country in support of community food banks,” says Katharine Schmidt, executive director, Food Banks Canada. “When so many Canadians are struggling just to get enough food to eat, programs like this help to ensure so many families and individuals can access essential food.”
The U.S. and Canadian trains will make stops in more than 150 communities as they travel across North America.
The U.S. Holiday Train will travel across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest before its final show Dec. 17 in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, while the Canadian train will travel west and wrap up its journey Dec. 18 in Port Coquitlam.
Each Holiday Train event features performances by professional musicians including the pop rock band Odds, Roxanne Potvin, Tracey Brown and Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo fame) on the Canadian tour.
There’s no charge to attend a Holiday Train show, but patrons are asked to take a cash or non-perishable food donation. All money and food raised in a community stays there to help those in need locally.
Local Salvation Army captains Sheldon and Sharon Feener say they are continually amazed by the giving nature of the people of Salmon Arm, and appreciate their support of the organization’s work in the community.
“This year’s Healthy Donations Challenge set forth by CP Rail helps us as a community remember that while we are able to go to the grocery store and purchase foods that help to heal and aid our bodies, not everyone has that same opportunity,” says Sheldon. “While we are grateful for each and every donation that is given, we encourage everyone to think about healthy donations this holiday season.”
The CP Rail Holiday Train arrives at the Lordco parking lot at 6:30 p.m. but organizer Chris Moore suggest people show up at 6.
The Salmon Arm Masonic Lodge will be serving hot food and beverages, including hotdogs, apple pies, apple cider and hot chocolate, all available by donation to the Salvation Army.
“As we no longer have the bleachers, please bring a lawn chair if you require seating,” says Moore. “There will also be carol singing, free glow sticks for the kids and our firefighters will provide burn barrels to keep you warm.”
As always, the Salvation Army will accept non-perishable food and cash donations on site.