CP Holiday Train goes virtual

The CP Holiday Train will be arriving in the Village this weekend – virtually. The CP Holiday Train has been travelling across Canada and the US bringing Christmas cheer and supporting local food banks since 1999. This year, they are unable to make the journey due to COVID-19; however, CP is still committing to donate $1.24 million to 201 food banks in communities that usually host the CP Holiday Train. This brings to total amount raised at CP Holiday Train stops to $19.05 million since its inception. Local food banks have also collected 4.8 million pounds of food donations at Holiday Train events.

Instead of travelling to their usual communities this year, CP is hosting a “Holiday Train at Home” virtual concert through their Facebook page. Headliners include Canadian artists Serena Ryder, and The Trews, with special guests Jojo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott. “I’m so excited to be part of the virtual CP Holiday Train this year, helping raise awareness and funds for local food banks in this time of extraordinary need,” Serena Ryder says in her bio on the CP website.

In a statement on their website, CP President and CEO, Keith Creel, acknowledged the more than two decades during which the CP family has been supporting Canadians and Americans in need through the Holiday Train program. “In a year full of challenge and loss, we will host this concert as a call to action for the train’s supporters to donate generously, if they can, this Christmas season. The spirit of the Holiday Train will come alive, even though the train itself will not operate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CP is encouraging viewers to make a donation to Food Banks Canada, or their local food bank. The Holiday Train usually supports the Emergency Food Cupboard in Merrickville, and Community Health Worker, Joanne McIntyre, says they usually get enough food to last them six months when the train comes through town. The Emergency Food Cupboard has seen an upswing in clients, due to people losing their jobs because of the pandemic. “All donations are going to count this year with the increased need,” Joanne says. “We are still encouraging people to be in the spirit of the Holiday Train and drop off donations.”

They are always looking for items like peanut butter, tuna, diced canned tomatoes, hot cereal, and pea soup. Donations can be dropped off at the Merrickville Community Health Centre from Monday, December 14, to Friday, December 18, the week after the Holiday Train virtual event. Cash donations are often more useful, as they allow for bulk and targeted buying by each food bank to meet the specific needs for their clients. You can make a monetary donation by sending an e-transfer to donations@rideauchs.ca, including your name and address so they will be able to send a proper tax receipt.

The Holiday Train at Home concert will be held on Saturday, December 12, at 8pm (EST) through Facebook Live. Final concert details will be posted on their social channels, so make sure you follow @CanadianPacific on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for latest updates.

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