The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train will arrive in Minneapolis Saturday, Dec. 9, and East Side Neighborhood Services’ (ESNS) Metro Food Programs will be the sole beneficiary. Every year during the holiday season, the train travels throughout Canada and the Midwest, raising funds for a local food program at each stop along the way. This year, Lions Park on 37th Avenue NE and Stinson Blvd. is the only stop in Minneapolis. The train is “due in” at 7:45 p.m.
CP’s 14-car decorated train is covered in LED lights and uses a boxcar as a stage. It leaves Quebec Nov. 25 and winds its way westward. Prior to the train’s arrival in Minneapolis, ESNS will host musical entertainment, family-friendly crafts, and refreshments. Neighbors are invited to gather at 7. At Lions Park, the show car will feature performances from country stars Terri Clark, Dallas Smith, and Kelly Prescott.
Although each Holiday Train visit free, CP encourages attendees to open their cupboards or wallets to ease hunger needs in their community. At the Minneapolis stop, non-perishable food donations to East Side’s Metro Food Programs will be matched pound-for-pound by Land O’Lakes, Inc.
CP will present a check to East Side’s Metro Food Programs, which include the High Rise Mobile Food Shelf, the Senior Food Shelf, and the Glendale Food Shelf. These programs serve more than 3,000 Hennepin County households, specializing in services for those who may have difficulty accessing a brick-and-mortar grocery store. Last year, the Metro Food Programs delivered nearly 1 million pounds of food.
Since 1999, the Holiday Train program has raised more than $13 million and 4 million pounds of food. “The Holiday Train program is all about local food banks and food shelves and the critical role they play in our communities,” said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. “The holiday season is the best time of the year, and we look forward to bringing together thousands of Canadians and Americans this season for this incredibly important cause and a great time.”
Metro Food Programs Director Rob Haarsager said, “The Holiday Train is a gift to the community and a gift to our food shelf programs.”
Approximately 5,000 attendees from Minneapolis, St. Anthony Village, and Columbia Heights welcomed the Holiday Train at its Minneapolis stop last year. Even more are anticipated this year, making parking in the area tricky. However, a free shuttle bus service will run from the closed Walmart store in St. Anthony at 3800 Silver Lake Rd. to Lions Park.
The CP Holiday Train website offers free posters for kids to download and color. The posters can be used to decorate donation containers. www.cpr.ca/holiday-train/photos-posters