By Jenna Jensen
Hundreds of residents gathered around to catch sight of the CP Holiday Train on December 10 as it rolled into Sparwood. The train not only brought in amazing entertainment, a visit from Santa and an astounding display of lights, but also proved how important supporting the local food bank is to everyone.
As the Sparwood Lions Club served up hot chocolate during the chilly afternoon, hearts were warmed by the outstanding display of support for the food bank as several parties made significant and generous donations. CP Rail donated $10,000; Tammy Ogden from Teck offered a cheque for $5,000; Alex Hanson from the United Steel Workers gave $1,500 and Bruce Doey on behalf of CUPE gave $500 to each the food bank and Toys for Tots program. One thousand dollars was given from the Sparwood Futures Society; $250 for each Toys for Tots and food bank from the District of Sparwood.
On behalf of the Emergency Services Food Drive, Ed Ehrler was pleased to announce that they collected double the food donations from last year and were proud to be able to gather these food and monetary contributions from the community. Those attending the event brought grocery bags full of donations, filling a old rail cart to the brim.
As Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko took the stage, she gave thanks to the CP Holiday Train and all of the volunteers for making a stop in Sparwood and for all of the generous support and recognition it brought to local food banks in the area.
Sparwood Food Bank Coordinator Carol Walmsley accepted the donations, and was given the opportunity to address the crowd. She said she was ‘blown away’, and commended the community and the CP Holiday Train for the generous support.
“We need it, and it is there. The community is so good to us, and everybody has reached out,” said Walmsley. “We are able to help during this time of year, and through the year with all of the support. We never have turn people away, or look at empty shelves. When people come in to use the food bank, they are also very thankful for all of the support.”