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Holiday Train raises $2,400

A large crowd turned out in downtown Hastings over the weekend for the first Downtown Snowflake Days and a visit by the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train.1 / 4
Hanah Precious stays warm while waiting for the Holiday Train to arrive Saturday in downtown Hastings.2 / 4
Area residents travel through downtown Hastings on a hay ride Saturday afternoon.3 / 4
Haley Kunshier gets ready to take a photo of her family while waiting for the Holiday Train to arrive Saturday.4 / 4

When the music had ended Saturday afternoon, the brightly decorated train had continued north to Cottage Grove, and the crowd had gone back the warm vehicles, there was good news for Hastings Family Service.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train raised $2,415.81 and collected 1,430 pounds of food for the agency. Plus, 41 toys were collected for the Holiday of Hope Toy Project.

"The results do not show the whole story about the good this holiday tradition brings about and the record crowd who attended," said Hastings Family Service Executive Director Chris Koop. "Giving to Hastings Family Service at this time of year is all about helping the families we serve for the holiday season with food and gifts. The Holiday Train helps bring awareness of that need as it rolls into downtown Hastings with its brightly colored lights, Santa and songs of the season."

Throughout this holiday season, other community groups, individuals, businesses and churches are doing their part to help others, she said. As of earlier this week, HFS had received 6,930 pounds of food in December (does not include the amount collected at Gobble Gait).

Large food drives have been held, and are being held, at Smead Manufacturing Co., Regina Medical Center, and the Dakota County Government Center. People have purchased bags of food at Cub Foods and Coborn's Superstore to donate to Hastings Family Service. Kids have birthday parties and adults have events and ask for food donations instead of gifts. Kids at the high school and middle school raised almost $6,000 during their annual coin drives challenges to benefit Hastings Family Service.

Koop, on behalf of the agency, thanked all who helped to make the Holiday Train possible, including the Canadian Pacific Railway (for its appearance and $1,000 donation to the food shelf), the performers, and the pre-event entertainment.