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Santa Bus collecting food for the hungry

Transit workers and Santa Claus will also be at No Frills on Edward Street on Saturday and Metro on Arthur Street on Sunday taking non-perishable food and cash donations.
Ken Koza Santa Bus
Ken Koza, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966 on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 says bus drivers will be collecting non-perishaable all week long in support of the Thunder Bay Food Bank. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – The Santa Bus is ready to roll.

Starting on Monday, the festively decorated Thunder Bay Transit coach will be travelling around the city encouraging riders on all buses and routes to donate non-perishable goods to help feed the hungry this Christmas season.

It’s a tradition that Transit workers find easy to get behind, said Ken Koza, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 966.

“Transit operators, we see all sides of the city of Thunder Bay. We see there is a great need for food banks in the city and we just really want to do whatever we can to help support that,” Koza said on Monday, moments after the bus rolled out of Transit’s Water Street headquarters.

The Santa Bus is one-of-a-kind, adorned with hundreds of Christmas lights, penguin and snowman figures placed at the front of the vehicle to guide the driver’s way.

Koza said last year they managed to collect more than 11,000 pounds of food and about $2,000 in cash. He’s hoping to be somewhere in that neighbourhood again in 2017.

“Last year we blew away other years,” he said.

“As much as I’d like to say let’s beat the 11,000 pounds, I would really like to see if we can meet that again. Of course if we could exceed the 11,000 we would just be ecstatic.”

Koza said collection bins will be placed on every city bus this week where donations to the Thunder Bay food bank can be made.

“Then on Saturday, Dec. 9 we’re going to be at No Frills on Edward Street between noon and 8 p.m. Santa Claus is going to be there, so bring out the kids and get some pictures,” Koza said. “Then on Sunday, Dec. 10 we’re going to be at Metro on Arthur and James, again from noon to eight.”

Cash donations will be accepted on Saturday and Sunday.