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Train travels with holiday spirit to fight hunger

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Santa Claus hands out candy canes to a crowd of youngsters while the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train makes a stop in Rochester in December 2009.

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is hitting the rails again, with stops in more than 130 communities in the United States and Canada. Each stop of the decorated train features live entertainment and a call to donate food to local food shelves.

The Holiday Train is 1,000 feet long and has 14 decorated rail cars, including a modified box car that has been turned into a traveling stage. The goal of the Holiday Train is to collect food and money for local food banks and to raise awareness in the fight against hunger.

Admission to see the train is free. Cash and nonperishable food donations are collected for local food banks and food shelves.

In the past decade, the Holiday Train has helped raise $4 million and 2 million pounds of food for local food banks.

Here's the scheduled stops in southeastern Minnesota:

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• Rochester, 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at the end of 16th Avenue N.W. behind Barlow Hy-Vee and Mickey's Irish Saloon.

• Owatonna, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 1145 Park Drive at the railroad crossing, near the Owatonna Bus Co.

• Waseca, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 308 S. State St. and Minnesota Highway 13.

• Austin, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8, 550 11th St. N.E.

• Winona, 5 p.m. Dec. 10, Amtrak Station, 65 E. Mark St.

• Wabasha, 6:55 p.m. Dec. 10, Gambie Avenue railroad crossing near Bruegger Park.

• Lake City, 8:45 p.m. Dec. 10, Hearth & Home Technologies, 800 W. Jefferson St. Socializing begins at 8 p.m.

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