The CP Holiday Train was virtual again in 2021, but its mandate to benefit community food banks has remained the same
In 2020, the CP Holiday Train was stranded at the station due to the pandemic and in 2021 the train was put on a siding again. This did not prevent the organization of a virtual Christmas concert, “With the Holiday Train at Home”, on December 18th.
CP President and CEO Keith Creel said CP was disappointed that it was unable to provide in-person performances on the Holiday Train to communities along their tracks, but was pleased that CP, along with musicians and singers, virtually address each other, in the hope that everyone enjoyed the program and were inspired to donate to food banks.
In the past, Wilkie, a branch point of CP, has seen the Holiday Train Christmas concert perform live at the station. The beautifully decorated engines and wagons, as well as the wonderful Christmas carols, are memorable. The hope is that by 2022, the Holiday Train will once again leave the siding and cross the country.
The concept of the Holiday Train is to give back to communities along the rail lines in Canada and now in the United States. The Holiday Train began in 1999 and has inspired donations of $ 20.64 million to food banks across the country. Food banks also raised £ 4.9million in donations where the Holiday Train left off in communities.
This year, the Wilkie Food Bank received a donation of $ 3,000. Food bank committee member Andria Gutting says the donation as well as the donations from the community have made a difference in the lives of many people.
Gutting says the pandemic has created difficult circumstances for many people and the ability to help when needed is why the food bank exists.
The donation was presented by Rudy Weber, “senior railway worker” to Wilkie, who was employed by the company for 42 years. Weber, at 89 with a 90th birthday in July, is active, lives in his own home, plays golf every day during golf season and has many stories to tell about his time as an employee on ” rails”. He said he was proud to represent the company and happy that it gives back to communities across the country where the railroad has played, and continues to play, a vital role.
“You never know who you need, which is why our food bank has phone numbers to call and ask for help. It’s not always easy to make that call, but… we’re here to lend a helping hand when needed, ”says Gutting.
The Wilkie Food Bank is run by volunteers, with no corporate sponsorship or physical building.
Those who need help accessing food can contact Andria Gutting, Andriana Karstens, Mandy Klein, Nicole Kobelsky or Carolyn Eremko. There are posters throughout the community with phone numbers to call. They are ready and able to help when needed.