Volunteers at the Friends in Need Food Bank Tent on Friday for the CP Rail Holiday Train stop.

Donations at CP Holiday Train for Friends food bank

Cash donations were down at the 18th annual CP Holiday Train drive.

Cash donations were down at the 18th annual CP Holiday Train drive for the Friends in Need Food Bank and the Christmas Hamper Society.

Canadian Pacific Rail donated $7,000 each to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for the food bank.

The Maple Ridge fire department collected $10,000, which will be split between the food bank and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Last year, firefighters collected $12,000.

The Pitt Meadows fire department collected $6,050, up slightly from last year,  as well as 982 pounds of non-perishable food items.

Pitt Meadows assistant fire chief Brad Perrie said there were more cash donations this year than those of food or toys.

In Maple Ridge, the fire department collected 1,962 pounds of food.

Last year Pitt Meadows collected 2,952 pounds of food and Maple Ridge collected 2,538 pounds of food.

Cash donations on the night of the train were $1,880.33 in Pitt Meadows and $2,330.57 in Maple Ridge. Both numbers are down from last year when Pitt Meadows collected $2,264 and $2,596 in Maple Ridge .

“This is the time of year when we stock up our reserves of all our non-perishable goods for our hampers,” said Mary Robson, executive director of the Friends in Need Food Bank.

“Last year, we made it through to about probably the end of April. So we made it further last year than in previous years,” added Robson.

Robson speculates the drop in numbers might have been due to the late arrival of the train which didn’t pull in to the Port Haney Station in Maple ridge until after 9 p.m.

But she said that it was still the best fundraising event of the year for the food bank.

Most needed are canned fruits and vegetables, canned meals, pastas and rice.

Donations are accepted between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the back door of the food bank or at local grocery stores.

The Friends in Need Food Bank served 721 hampers in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows last month, an increase over last year.

Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised more than $12 million and 3.9 million pounds of food for North American food banks.


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