The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train will be virtual this year. (Photo: Scott Ash/Now News Group)
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train — which traditionally stops in Hartland, Oconomowoc and Wauwatosa — will be virtual this year because of the pandemic.
“It was important from a community responsibility decision that we look at the public health impact of holding a concert that could gather people together in communities,” said Andy Cummings, media relations manager with Canadian Pacific. “We decided we were not able to responsibly move forward on that. Then the question became what do you do to try and make sure that you can still have that impact because there is such a need this year.”
Communities will still receive a donation from Canadian Pacific to go toward local food pantries. In 2019, $4,500 each was donated to food pantries in Hartland and Oconomowoc. Tosa Cares, Wauwatosa’s food pantry, received $7,000 from Canadian Pacific.
The holiday train event is the biggest fundraiser for food pantries in those communities. Each community is thinking of alternative options to raise food and money for their respective pantries.
“We’re going to make every attempt to try and supplement this,” said Ryan Bailey, Hartland village treasurer and finance director. “Even though the train isn’t coming … we will try and do something. We just have to figure out the what.”
Michelle Haider, the executive director for the village of Wauwatosa Business Improvement District, said collection points for the food pantry will be at restaurants and retail shops, as in the past.
“The hope is to put those out at more of the businesses and earlier this year,” Haider said. “As well as our holiday tree lighting event, which is Dec. 4, we will do a big push there as well.”
Last year, a crowd of 4,000 to 5,000 people came out to see the holiday train and raise food and money for the Hartland Food Pantry and the St. Charles Parish Food Pantry in Hartland. Food donations totaled 7,200 pounds, and cash donations were $7,000.
In Oconomowoc, there was 2,223 pounds of food and $11,566 raised in 2019.
The holiday train has been making the trip for more than 20 years in Wauwatosa and has collected 4.5 million pounds of food since its first journey back in 1999.
Details have not been announced yet regarding the virtual holiday train event. For more information, email [email protected]
Contact Evan Frank at (262) 361-9138 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Evanfrank_LCP.
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