Gearing up to help bolster local food bank stock, the CP Holiday Train arrives in Central Alberta this week.
The train, which set out from Beaconsfield, Que. on Nov. 27, is set to visit more than 70 communities in six provinces this year, officials say.
Local stops for the CP Holiday Train include Dec. 9 in Lacombe at 1:15 p.m. (parking lot adjacent to CP tracks between 46 Ave. & Hwy. 2A) and Ponoka at 3 p.m. (50 St. and 47 Ave). The train arrives in Red Deer on Dec. 11 at 9:45 a.m. at the CP Rail Yard (adjacent Administration Building — 6867 Edgar Industrial Dr.).
Musical entertainment will be provided by alt-rockers The Odds.
The concert takes place from a boxcar converted to a professional stage, and crowds are encouraged to donate cash and non-perishable food. CP then presents a cheque at each stop to top up what’s been donated.
“The Holiday Train’s mandate remains strong and that is to help tackle hunger, regardless of borders or size of community,” said Fred Green, president and CEO of Canadian Pacific. “At this critical time of year, CP employees and thousands of volunteers in Canada and the United States are again joining together in helping those less fortunate.”
Since 1999, the CP Holiday Train program has raised $4.8 million and generated almost 2.3 million lbs. of food donations for local food shelves. In 2001, CP launched a second Holiday Train in the U.S.
Last year, cash donations from North Americans were nearly $750,000.
“With our HungerCount 2010 survey showing a 9.2 per cent increase in Canadians turning to their local food shelves in 2010 compared to 2009, the CP Holiday Train is a unique and creative program that gives people an opportunity to support their local food banks,” said Katharine Schmidt, executive director of Food Banks Canada.
The Odds’ debut CD Neopolitan was released in 1991. Bedbugs followed in 1993 featuring the single Heterosexual Man. Critical acclaim continued to build with singles including It Falls Apart and Jackhammer. Good Weird Feeling hit shelves in 1995 and yielded a bunch of radio hits including Truth Untold, Eat My Brain, Satisfied and Smokescreen.
The guys later took a break to work, write and play with artists including Colin James, Rosanne Cash, Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip (Strippers Union) and Jesse Valenzuela of the Gin Blossoms (Northey Valenzuela).
A new CD, Cheerleader, was released in 2008 and its first single My Happy Place was used during the end credits for the hit serried Corner Gas.
For more about the CP Holiday Train, check out www8.cpr.ca/cms/English/General+Public/Holiday+Train.