Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Supporting Food Pantries: The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

IMG_7718We have taken our family to the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train since my children were little tykes. Not only is the event a fun way to dance off that Thanksgiving meal, it is a community-wide opportunity to give back.

It is always important for my kids to remember while making that second turkey sandwich; some families may not have had enough food for firsts.

Since 1999 the Holiday Train has offered free concerts and a festively decorated train to help raise food and cash donations to local food banks. This year Tracey Brown, formerly of award winning country bank The Family Brown, has taken on the US section of the tour. Each stop is about 45-minutes where communities can put on their own unique twist.

Town of Moriah Food Pantry Site Manager Suzanne Morse, says, “ We are dependent on private donations. I apply for grants when I can, when it applies to a food pantry. Right now we are trying to put a Thanksgiving meal together for people.”

According to Morse, The Town of Moriah Food Pantry services about 110 local families. They have currently provided for 70, but have already run out of potatoes. Morse will be taking a trip before Thanksgiving in search of boxes of instant potatoes since no fresh ones were donated this year.

“The Holiday Train is one of the biggest Christmas events that benefits our community,” says Morse. “We live in a community with a lot of low income families that will still take that last can off their shelf in order to give something back. This event allows those that receive services all year long to do something good. Since other organizations provide Christmas services, the food and funds raised during the Holiday Train go back to restock the shelves.”

Of course, the CP Holiday Train isn’t the only way for food pantries to receive funds. Morse says that with any cash donation she is able to purchase twice the amount of food. She knows that some people prefer to donate a non-perishable food item. People are always welcome to call her (or their own local food pantry) to find out if there are particular items needed.

“ There are always items that aren’t provided by the regional food pantry, where I get most of our supplies,” says Morse. “I do like to provide families with some canned soup, ketchup and mayonnaise or pancake mix and syrup when I can. I usually make a list for our church bulletin.”

“It is usually our elderly that won’t ask for help,” says Morse. “They are proud and would rather go without food or heat in order to buy their medicine. Those are the people that I want to let know we are here just to help out. Sometimes we need to just help people get over a rough spot.”

The New York State Canadian Pacific Holiday Train schedule with the Tracy Brown and the Holiday Train Band is as follows:
November 27
8:15 pm, Binghamton’s East Binghamton Yard

November 28
1 pm, Oneonta’s Gas Ave. Crossing
3:30 pm Cobleskill’s Cobleshill Fire Department
5 pm Delanson’s Main St. Crossing
6:30 pm Schenectady’s Schenectady Floor Covering, 1910 Maxon Rd Ext.
8:30 pm Saratoga Spring’s Amtrak Station

November 29
12:30 pm Fort Edward’s Amtrak Station
3 pm Ticonderoga Pell’s Crossing Amtrak Waiting Station (Rt. 74)
4:45 pm Port Henry Amtrak Station
7:15 pm Plattsburgh’s Amtrak Station
9 pm Rouses Point’s Station

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo of CP Holiday Train used with the permission of Diane Chase, 

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Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.

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