Monthly Archives: December 2014

Union Depot and Neighborhood House Celebrate 3,800 Pounds of Food and $12,800 of Cash Donated during Canadian Pacific Holiday Train Visit

December 19, 2014

Union Depot and Neighborhood House in St. Paul celebrated the arrival of the CP Holiday Train on Friday, December 12. More than 7,000 people poured into the historic Union Depot and out onto the train deck that once was the location of over 20 tracks to see the beautifully lit CP Holiday Train. A lively performance by Kira Isabella and Home Free provided the audience the opportunity to warm up with toe-tapping entertainment.

Attendees of the event donated 3,863 pounds of food and $2,837 through cash contributions and VIP ticketing. Neighborhood House Food Shelf also received a $10,000 check from Canadian Pacific Railroad. Neighborhood House’s 25 volunteers accepted donations and packed three truckloads of canned goods. “We are so grateful to be the recipients of the food drive as part of this amazing event. Thank you CP Holiday Train and Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority for choosing Neighborhood House!” said Joan Schlecht, Director of Programs – Basic Needs at Neighborhood House.

The wide variety of foods donated will serve the diverse populations of Ramsey County. In addition, the $12,837 has an enormous multiplier effect. The food and dollars collected will provide groceries to more than 1100 individuals who will be able to prepare 13,917 meals. In 2014, Neighborhood House has distributed more than 1 million pounds of food. “Living a healthy life includes accessibility to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins,” said Rafael Ortega, chair, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. “Eating well is difficult for many people due to financial limitations. We value Neighborhood House as a strong partner as we work together to increase food security for those in need.”

The grand and historic Union Depot in Lowertown continues to grow as a unique gathering place for people – whether they are travelers passing through, living in Saint Paul or stopping in the area for a visit. In the two years since Union Depot was re-opened, hundreds of events and celebrations have welcomed community members into the space.

CP Holiday Train

December 3, 2014

The CP Holiday Train will stop at historic Union Depot on Friday evening, December 12 for a short musical performance that will benefit the St. Paul nonprofit Neighborhood House. The event will start at approximately 6:30 p.m. with a welcome by Rafael Ortega, chair, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, followed by a performance by Kira Isabella and Home Free.

CP Holiday Trains travel through dozens of communities every year raising food and cash donations for North American food banks.  The CP Holiday Trains have covered over 100,000 miles and raised close to $9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food since the program started in 1999.  The Holiday Trains make stops in communities across the Canadian Pacific Railroad service area, offering free concerts and seasonal festivities from a boxcar turned into a travelling stage. The musicians on board the trains will play more than 150 free concerts.  Attendees are encouraged to make a donation to the local food bank – either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation – which stays within the local community.

“We’re excited to welcome the CP Holiday Train to Union Depot.  It’s joyful and colorful and CP’s mission to help eliminate hunger and provide access to good food really fits with the work we do in Ramsey County,” said Rafael Ortega, chair, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority.  “We have successfully partnered for healthier meal service at shelters and meal sites; made it possible for users of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards to shop at local farmers’ markets; and supported gardens, healthier vending, and mini-farmers’ markets at public housing sites.”

The CP Holiday Train event will benefit Neighborhood House with a $3 ticket that 250 guests may purchase to have a closer viewing spot to see the magnificent, festively-decorated train.  There will be additional standing room where other guests may view the train for free.  Tickets are available at This event is one of many holiday happenings Union Depot will host during the month of December, including the annual Holiday Bake Sale, a ceremonial Holiday Tree Lighting with a musical performance by The Voice Top 5 Contestant Kat Perkins, holiday caroling, fireworks, the North Pole Express train with Santa, free Holiday Movie Nights and more.

ABOUT NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE: Since 1897, Neighborhood House has worked to help people, families and organizations develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to thrive in diverse communities.  Regardless of where a participant is in their life’s journey, Neighborhood House provides the tools needed to move from “survive to thrive,” working to help break the cycle of poverty through meeting Basic Needs, and offering Life Long Learning.

Other holiday events happening at Union Depot include the following.  For details about the events, including holiday movie show times, please visit


Union Depot Holiday Events

December 5-7 and 11-14:  “North Pole Express” Holiday Train

The Friends of the 261 will bring the North Pole Express steam engine and vintage train cars to Union Depot. Guests will enjoy the experience of a real steam train, Santa and his elves and holiday fun for all.  Tickets are $17.50 for children (3 – 12 years) and $19.50 for adults and are available at

December 6:  Annual Holiday Bake Sale and Tree Lighting Celebration with Kat Perkins Performance; Debut of Bee Line Honey treats

Bake Sale, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Nearly 20 of the Twin Cities’ top bakeries will gather at Union Depot to sell holiday cookies, and Union Depot will offer a special cookie created using Bee Line Honey from the five beehives kept on the building’s rooftop.  The event will also include displays of modern and historic holiday décor, cooking demonstrations, musical performances and giveaways.  Admission is $5 for adults (kids under 12 admitted free).  A commemorative tin will be sold for $10 with a portion of proceeds benefiting Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign.  Tickets to the bake sale are available at

Tree Lighting, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.:  The annual holiday tree lighting celebration will begin at 4 p.m. with caroling and refreshments and the tree will be lit at 5 p.m. Fireworks will follow the tree lighting. The tree lighting celebration is free with refreshments available for purchase.

Kat Perkins Performance, 4:30-5 p.m.: Top 5 contestant from THE VOICE, Kat Perkins, will perform in the Head House as part of the tree lighting events.  Growing up the daughter of a music teacher, Kat Perkins has been singing, dancing, and performing for just about as long as she can remember. At just 15 years old, Perkins made the move to the Twin Cities from rural North Dakota and her professional career began as she became a success in the Minneapolis-St. Paul theatre scene.  Her single, “Fearless,” independently hit #5 upon release on the iTunes charts.  An inspirational speaker, talented singer and creative woman, Kat Perkins will dazzle visitors to Union Depot with her performance.

Bee Line Honey Treats: Union Depot will debut a collection of Bee Line Honey treats including Honey Bon-Bons crafted with Bee Line Honey and produced by Mademoiselle Miel and limited-edition jars of Bee Line Honey will be available starting at $3.00.

December 12 and 19:  Free Holiday Movie Nights

Holiday favorites (Disney’s) Frozen, The Polar Express and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation will be shown on a large screen in the Waiting Room.  The movie showings are free and open to the public.  Visit for show times and details.