Editor, The Record
Re: Keep Shoppers here at Christmas, Jan. 5 edition.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain, what these “free” trains accomplish for Mission residents, especially those in need.
The West Coast Express Santa Trains provided items for over 700 Christmas hampers for families in need in Mission this year. Over the last 15 years, we have been able, thanks to Phil Hope and his team at the Mission Christmas Bureau, to consistently fill these hampers at Christmas. This is a charity event where people bring an unwrapped toy or cash donation in exchange for a return ticket on the West Coast Express. All the donations collected in Mission stay in Mission.
The Santa Trains have become a cherished tradition for many families, many of whom tell us that it is not the shopping, but the holiday experience that makes them come out each year.
We provide free parking at our lots, for patrons of these very special trains, many of whom drive out to Mission from other areas to ensure a seat and get the full experience of the train.
As a Mission resident myself, I always try to spend my money in Mission first and take full advantage of all the terrific shops and services. I do feel compelled to comment that although there are some great shops and services on First Avenue, there are not enough shops to entail a full-day excursion. Over the past 10 years I have lived in Mission, many of my favourite local shops that made First Avenue a pleasure to stroll and shop have disappeared altogether or been replaced by yet another cheque cashing store.
I would like to invite all Mission residents to come out and participate, either by riding the Santa Trains or volunteering at the station to make the experience special for everyone involved. See you next year!
Editor’s Note: Ms. Rice-Jones is employed by West Coast Express as a customer service representative.