The CBC's Peter Mansbridge gamely gave tips to people trying their hand at being a news anchor. ((CBC))

CBC Vancouver's annual open house has raised a record amount from individual donations for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

More than $410,000 was raised from people who donated by phone or online and from those coming through CBC/Radio Canada's doors in downtown Vancouver Friday.

The donations are distributed to food banks across B.C.

The food bank fundraiser once again coincided with an open house, which saw thousands of people tour the CBC building.

CBC celebrities on hand included during the day included Peter Mansbridge, anchor of The National, George Stroumboulopoulos, host of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight and local news anchors Tony Parsons and Gloria Macarenko.

Recipient turned volunteer

Among the volunteers taking donations was one-time food bank recipient Pej Namshirin.

"The food bank made a huge difference in my life," Namshirin said.

Fifteen years ago, he and his family had just arrived in Vancouver as refugees from Iran. With very little English and even less money, his parents turned to the food bank, which helped keep them going for nine months.


Volunteers pitched in as members of the public brought in food items and donated money for food banks across B.C. ((CBC))

"We had nothing, were living in the YWCA when first got here," he said.

Today Pej's parents have good jobs and own a house and Pej has become a professional engineer.

But he said he recognizes that the need continues for thousands of others who now depend on food banks.

And food banks are hugely dependent on generosity at this time of year.

"In the month of December, we raise 80 per cent of what we need for the year," said the Greater Vancouver Food Bank's Cheryl Carline.