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Sparky
12-18-2004, 11:09 PM
Holiday train raises money for Wisc. food pantry

(The following story by Brandon Lorenz appeared on the Waukesha Freeman website on December 16.)

WAUKESHA, Wisc. -- The parking lot was full and the line of residents extended halfway down the building at 1 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Food Panty of Waukesha County. It was a familiar site for John Lindermuth.

"I come here every two weeks," said Lindermuth, 42, who is a full-time student at Waukesha County Technical College.

Lindermuth quit his machine shop job in March to study human services. He said he has not been able to find a part-time job since then.

"It helps me because I can stretch out my food that way," Lindermuth said as the line moves forward.

Karen Tredwell, executive director of the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, saw a different kind of line last Friday - one of residents waiting to donate food to the food pantry.

Tredwell and her staff collected more than two tons of food at Fox Brook Park as part of a fund-raising event for the food pantry sponsored by Canadian Pacific Railway, which brought its specially lit holiday train of entertainers into Brookfield.

"We did not anticipate the volume of people that came because it was a very new event and in part with the bad weather," said Tredwell. "It was very overwhelming."

CP Rail donated $1,000 to the food pantry, said Tredwell, who added that the group received an anonymous $1,000 matching donation and $565 in donations from residents.

"That is nothing to sneeze at," said Brookfield Mayor Jeff Speaker. "Isn't it wonderful that people turn out during this time of year to give so much?"

Tredwell said the food pantry served 93 families in two hours Tuesday. The group served 5,339 people in November, an increase of 153 people from 2003, she said.

"We have needs all year round certainly. But we have continued to see an increase in the request for service," Tredwell said. "As our donations have held steady, the opportunity for an extra food drive helps us get the increase we need for that demand."

Tredwell said organizers are planning ways to make the fund-raiser flow more smoothly next year.

"The CP Rail people were very easy to work with," she said. "They told us they were so excited when they got to our site, because they hadn't seen so many children as they did at our Fox River site."