As many as 1,000 people showed up to welcome the CP Holiday Train Tuesday afternoon, and to support Castlegar's Community Harvest Food Bank.
The event, which happens every other year, saw Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Band rock the crowd – and the crowd reciprocated, donating $4,289.90, a $25 gift card and roughly 700 pounds of non-perishable food items.
Not to be undone, CP donated $6,000 and Jo-Ann Bursey (with Century 21) topped it off with a cheque for $1,500, bringing the total close to $12,000, along with thousands more in food.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said food bank coordinator Deb McIntosh. “This community is wonderfully generous.”
Mayor and council were in attendance, with Councillor Florio Vassilakakis donating free apple cider for the crowd, and Councillor Susan Heaton helping serve roughly 360 free hot dogs.
McIntosh added that she's incredibly proud of, and grateful for, the remarkable team of volunteers who work so hard every year to help organize roughly 250 Christmas hampers for the city's less fortunate.
The importance of fundraising this time of year can't be understated – while all the food and toys will go to hampers (with the food bank purchasing everything else they need), the cash donations could see the food bank through the New Year and as many as three or four months into 2018.
“This support is phenomenal, and so important to so many people in our fabulous community,” McIntosh said.
Yesterday was the deadline for applying for hampers.