Visit strengthens community partnership at local food drive
By SCOTT BRENT
For the Sunday Times
ALLEN PARK – The swift passage of the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train through Allen Park Nov. 30 reminded hundreds of families that Christmas spirit cannot be found gift-wrapped in a box or measured by the tallest tree.
Although the flashy lights and holiday designs entertained the spectators, the food drive that commemorated the train’s arrival spurred them toward a greater cause. As the train made its rounds, its cargo filled with cash and food donations collected from the community for local food banks, along with donations provided by Canadian Pacific.
Locally, Advanced Approach Videos partnered with the Fish & Loaves Food Pantry of Taylor to accept donations behind Inter-City Baptist Church, 4700 Allen Road. Their combined efforts raised 3,379 pounds in food donations this year.
The Allen Park High School Marching Band, Chris Allen, and Masters Promise provided musical entertainment for the event.
Taylor resident Aaron Irick said experiencing this holiday tradition is never the same when watching from different vantage points.
“Last year, my kid wanted a bird’s eye view of the train,” Irick said, “so I climbed the white soccer posts to get above everyone else. What can I say?He’s my kid.”
When Marlene Cottrell of Dearborn discovered the absence of a hot chocolate stand or food truck from last year, she decided to get creative.
“We always stop off at our local supermarket to get food for donations,” Cottrell said, “but in case the train passes after dinnertime, we thought it would be a great idea to tailgate in our trunk.”
Since its initiation in 1999, the CP Holiday Train Program raised more than $13 million and 4 million pounds of food for communities along CP’s routes in Canada and the United States.
“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 CEO, in a statement on the Holiday Train website. “People come for the beautifully-lit train and stay for the incredible show – all in the name of community.
“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.”