'Radish Commuter' makes holiday comeback to raise funds for local food banks

Josh Neubauer, better known as the Radish Commuter, is bringing back his odd costume to help the North York Harvest Food Bank.

Josh Neubauer, decked out in a radish suit, has raised $9K for North York's food bank

Josh Neubauer, known as the Radish Commuter, is bringing his unique suit back out for the winter holidays to help the North York Harvest Food Bank. (@radish_commute/Instagram)

Donning a bright red radish costume and a green hat, draped in leaves — all in the shape of a radish —started out as a dare for Josh Neubauer. 

In the months since, the suit has turned into a major source of attention and donations for the North York Harvest Food Bank.  

"I had a direct boost in donations from people I didn't even know, perfect strangers, where it really resonated with them and they got a kick out of it," Neubauer told CBC Toronto

For every $1,000 he raises for the North York Harvest Food Bank, Josh Neubauer commutes one day dressed as a radish. 3:10

Neubauer, chair of the board for the North York Harvest Food Bank, came up with an idea this summer: for every $1,000 he raised, he would dress up as a radish during his commutes on the GO train from Hamilton to Toronto.

The costume inevitably drew plenty of looks and Neubauer said the unusual get-up, along with the previous coverage from CBC Toronto, made the idea into an even bigger success, eventually raising $9,000 this year. 

CBC Toronto has launched our annual Sounds of the Season fundraiser in support of GTA food banks. Click here for more on how to donate food or money, and we hope to see you at our open house on Friday, Dec. 7.

"As it hit $9,000 mark, it was pretty clear the momentum was over ... I figured it was time to give it a bit of a break."

Neubauer has raised $9,000 since donning the radish suit. (Rob Krbavac/CBC)

But he's now bringing the radish costume, made by his mother-in-law, back from its brief retirement.

"I've been thinking and talking to the staff at the food bank that since the holidays are here and it's an important time for us to raise money and food," he said. 

It's an important time for us to raise money and food.- Josh Neubauer, on why he's bringing back his radish costume

Neubauer said he has been overwhelmed by the generosity he has seen from people, many of whom discover the cause after asking him what the silly costume was all about.

He relays a story about a donor who was especially inspired by his idea. 

"[The donor] said, 'Hey, are you Josh?' and said, 'Here's a thousand dollar donation I want to make, the cause was great, the cause is really important, I want to be connected to the organization,'" he recounted.

Neubauer hopes the momentum brought on by media coverage and odd looks on transit will further help the food bank. (CBC News)

Neubauer said that same donor called on colleagues and friends to show their support for the North York Harvest Food Bank as well. 

And whatever kind of donations will come their way this winter season, Neubauer said he and the food bank are already thankful for the support they've received. 

"When I started, I had a $1,000 goal, which would've been one day as a radish," he said.

"It's homegrown, opportunistic thing to make as much money and I'm up for whatever."


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