Huge weekend for food bank: Miracle marathon, toy drive, and Holiday Train on tap

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
December 9th, 2011

It’s a critical weekend for Castlegar’s Community Harvest Food Bank, as they push to raise what they need to provide Christmas hampers to the city’s less fortunate.

The drive begins today, with Mountain FM’s Miracle Marathon at Safeway.

“I think that started about six years ago, to raise food, donations and awareness for food banks throughout the area,” said Community Harvest manager Deb McIntosh. “It’s vital to the Christmas hamper fund – we give out more than 300 hampers every year, which feed as many as 1,000 people over the holidays.”

Next up is the fire department’s annual toy drive at A&W on Saturday – drop off a toy between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and get a coupon for a free Teen burger and root beer. The city’s firefighters will be on hand, bussing tables, handing out coupons and generally ensuring a good time is had by all, and kids will enjoy checking out the big red fire truck parked out front.
Last, but absolutely nowhere near least, is the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train, which comes here once every two years and will be chugging into Castlegar at around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, just outside the Station Museum downtown.
With entertainment including Valdy, Tracey Brown, and Santa himself, the colourful and brightly-lit train draws thousands of revellers at each stop, raising money, food and awareness for food banks across Canada and the U.S.
“They’ve already sent us a cheque for $2,000, which will help so much – even with all the food donations, it costs us about $6,000 for the extra food we have to purchase for the hampers,” McIntosh said. “It’s a wonderful event, and everyone who attends has a terrific time …that it also is vitally important to helping the city’s less fortunate is pretty awesome icing on the cake.”
The Holiday Train has raised over $5.6 million and 2.5 million pounds of food.