Food bank could use yuletide help

Big steel wheels roll into town from across Canada

Enjoy the Christmas lights and the music this Dec. 18 when the CP Holiday Train rolls into town for its annual stop in Port Haney.

But help others enjoy this Christmas as well by bringing along some cash or some canned goods because your friends at the Friends in Need Food Bank need it.

The food bank counts on the money raised at that the event (7:45 p.m. at the Port Haney train station) to help it make it through the year. Currently, the food bank provides 775 hampers a month to either seniors, singles or families.

That’s up about 40 per cent since operations supervisor Chuck Griffiths started two years ago.

“A lot of our clients are regulars that weren’t before,” Griffiths explained.

The food bank is now able to offer dairy products regularly and fresh vegetables in the grocery bags it hands out, in addition to the canned and packaged items.

“We’re doing better at providing for the clients than we were before.”

And this month there will be a few extra Christmas goodies in the bags, such as ham.

Volunteer coordinator Mary Robson says food stocks are down at the bank so they’re looking for donations from the Holiday Train event to replenish supplies.

“The food volume is way, way down.”

In particular, the food bank could use instant oatmeal and noodles and pasta along with canned tomatoes, vegetables, fruit or ravioli.

“The smaller the packages, the better,” Robson added.

Diapers, for kids and adults, all sizes, are also in big need.

Robson stepped in to help out in November to cover for executive-director Joanne Olson, who is off sick.

“I’m just so impressed with the way the operation functions,” Robson said.

This year’s entertainers will be Doc Walker from Portage La Prairie, Man., and Miss Emily, from Kingston, Ont.

Every year the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train travels across Canada and the United States with 14 cars decorated in thousands of LED lights. Artists perform on a modified boxcar that is turned into a traveling stage.

Last year $20,949.40 was collected for the food bank.

 

– with files

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