Maple Ridge residents may grow to like Pitt Meadows’ flag. They’ll be seeing it for the next month every time they walk into Maple Ridge municipal hall after the smaller city won the CP Holiday Train Challenge on Wednesday.
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read and Pitt Meadows counterpart, John Becker, announced the challenge two weeks ago to see which city had the biggest heart and could raise, per capita, the most food and money for the Friends in Need Food Bank.
When the train rolled in with Blue Rodeo singer Jim Cuddy performing, the donations started to flow.
When it was over, Pitt Meadows residents had the bigger hearts.
Those who dropped by to see the CP Holiday Train at the Pitt Meadows location brought 2,954 pounds of food.
Maple Ridge residents brought 2,538 pounds to the Port Haney station.
As for cash donations, Pitt Meadows collected $3,044, compared to Maple Ridge’s $2,726.
“Our volunteers are just bagged today,” said Mary Robson, executive-director for the food bank.
“The biggest thing is we got double the donations from CP Rail.”
Robson said the Port Haney stop was packed with people, more than in recent years.
“I’ve never seen that many people,” she added. “Everything just fell into place on both shows. Cuddy did an amazing job.”
This year, the Holiday Train made its first stop in Pitt Meadows to mark the city’s centennial. With that stop, CP Rail kicked in $7,000 as its contribution for the food bank.
It did the same at Port Haney.
And there were more donations.
in Maple Ridge, the Firefighters for Families Fundraiser and Food Drive collected $7,137, while firefighters in Pitt Meadows garnered $2,963 for the food bank.
Based on donations per capita, Pitt Meadows emerged the winner.
According to the rules set out earlier, Maple Ridge will have to display Pitt Meadows flag in Maple Ridge city hall for the month of January and also display it behind the Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read for the first televised council meeting of 2015.
Maple Ridge, with its population of about 80,000 would have had to have four times the amount collected by Pitt Meadows.
Robson said the extra contributions have restocked the formerly emptying shelves at the food bank, which this year has given out 800 Christmas hampers.
“Our shelves are filled up, and the other amazing thing happening this year is the volume that’s coming from the schools. It’s just been overwhelming.”
However, Robson knows that come March, the stocks will again be depleted.