It's been quite a day here at CBC as we opened our doors to the community and people opened their hearts to those in need.

In the end, this year's CBC Open House and Food Bank Day $630,314.

Our fund raising page has now closed. Thanks for donating!

Food Bank services

Over the years, CBC's Open House and Food Bank Day has raised millions of dollars. Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who, at one time or another, have needed the services of a food bank have benefited from this annual event.

Laura Lansink, the executive director of Foodbanks B.C., says the need for food banks is, unfortunately, greater than ever.

"This is the highest recorded use of food banks ever in BC. More than 100,000 people every month are having to use a food bank," she said.

"One out of every three people who visit the food bank is a child … that's heartbreaking."

Many of those using food bank services are not who people expect, says Aart Schuurman Hess, the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society.

"It could be your friend, could be your neighbour … sometimes things happen and you need that short-term support, and that's when we are there."

With that in mind, here's how our day went:

The Early Edition

It started well before sunrise with Rick Cluff and CBC Radio One's The Early Edition. Rick was joined by Amy Bell and Margaret Gallagher. Company B played jazzy Christmas tunes for the audience, many of whom showed up at 5:30 a.m. PT when the doors to the CBC Broadcast Centre on 700 Hamilton Street opened. 

Other live music guests today include, Chor Leoni, the internationally recognized male vocal ensemble. They are here at CBC Vancouver, singing classics such as Ave Maria and Silent Night for The Early Edition's live audience.

Later, the CBC's own Margaret Gallagher joined in on the music performances, singing with Company B in a beautiful rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

BC Almanac

At 11:00 a.m. PT, Sheryl McKay, host of North by Northwest, joined BC Almanac's Gloria Macarenko for a special edition of CBC Radio One's noon hour radio show in B.C. Studio 700, which once again was packed for the show.

Acoustic string ensemble Van Djangle played upbeat Christmas songs like Santa Claus is Coming to Town for the live audience.

And long-time listeners were in for a treat because special guest, former BC Almanac host, Mark Forsythe dropped by to talk about how life has been since his retirement a year ago.

On The Coast

In the afternoon, On The Coast's Stephen Quinn and Lisa Christiansen brought listeners a musical extravaganza powered by house band Rich Hope and the Food Bank Four.

Also helping out were The Early Edition's Amy Bell and Radio West host Rebecca Zandbergen.

Throughout the show, they were joined by guests like Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan, musician and leatherworker Dustin Bentall, financial planner Mark Ting and local musician Hilary Grist.

The meaning of grace

The theme all day at CBC Open House and Food Bank Day is the idea of grace. 

Bill Richardson, writer and former CBC host says grace is something people understand better as they age.

"You learn about acceptance, in a way. To accept assistance when you require it, to give help when you require it. Those are the basic life lessons that I think really deepen in us as we go along."

Christopher Gaze, artistic director of Bard on the Beach, says grace is about generosity.

"Good grace is not thinking so much about oneself, it's about thinking about others and how fortunate we are … it's time for all of us, who have a little more than everybody else, to really reach out on a day like this. It's time to be gracious."

But Deputy Vancouver Mayor Andrea Reimer says finding grace is not always easy.

"When you're someone whose job is to fight for things in the world, sometimes you can kind of forget grace is always a good thing to be carrying with you in the world."

Our fund raising page has now closed. Thanks for donating!