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20th annual Holiday Train rolls into town with Santa, smiles, and help for the hungry

The 20th annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made a stop at Milwaukee’s Intermodal Station on December 6, as it passed through Wisconsin to bring holiday cheer, Saint Nicholas, and live music to families across North America.

For 2018, Milwaukee native and legendary musician Willy Porter headlined a portion of the rail tour. The 14-car train was decorated with thousands of lights and visited stations in 13 Wisconsin communities. Each stop was treated to a concert by Porter, the band The Trews, and singer Kelly Prescott. The train made a grand entrance at the Milwaukee station by transforming an ordinary cargo car into a musical stage that overflowed with holiday spirit.

“I am both grateful and excited to be a part of the CP Holiday Train’s 20th Anniversary Band as we roll across North America. Each whistle stop combined humanitarian effort with the musical spirit of the holidays. It makes the CP Holiday Train one of the greatest projects I have had the honor to be a part of.”

Each year the public is encouraged to bring along a donation of nonperishable food to benefit local food pantries in the community. As a result, the Holiday train is also known as “North America’s longest rolling food bank.”

Canadian Pacific (CP) operates in over 1,100 communities with 12,000 employees. Since 1999, the Holiday Train has raised more than CAD $14.5 million (USD $10.89 million), and 4.3 million pounds of food for North American food banks.

Everything raised in a community stays in that community. In addition, CP makes a financial donation at each stop. This year, Sherrie Tussler, Executive Director of Hunger Task Force, accepted a check from the railroad for $8,500.

“We know that hunger is an issue that impacts our neighbors,” said Tussler. “So, with the help of volunteers and the public, we have collected a couple thousand pounds of food. Plus, the money donated by people and Canadian Pacific (CP) goes a long way to support our mission.”

Fans of the annual train event have also been encouraged to donate heart-healthy food this year, so that everyone can access healthy and nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances. The effort supports the mission of “CP Has Heart,” a program dedicated to improving the heart health of men, women, and children in North America. To date, this program has raised over CAD $15 million (USD $11.27 million) for cardiac care and research.

Heart disease is one of the fastest growing health challenges in North America and the leading cause of death worldwide. A healthy lifestyle, that includes maintaining a heart-healthy diet, can make heart disease manageable and preventable.

Millions of people across North America use food banks to make ends meet for their daily meals. The CP Holiday Train helps restock those resources to ensure that people have access to healthy and nutritious food.

“It is a privilege for CP to be able to run a program like this and connect with so many communities across our network,” said Keith Creel, CP’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “I want to personally thank each individual who has made a donation over the past 20 years, your collective efforts have made the Holiday Train a huge success for two decades.”

About The Author

Lee Matz

Former Creative Director and Photojournalist for the Milwaukee Business Journal, Lee brings his years of international experience as an award-winning foreign correspondent in Asia and Europe. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his news reports.