01/02/2013 08:43 EST | Updated 03/04/2013 05:12 EST

Sounds of the Season donations smash $500K mark

For the first time in its history, Sounds of the Season, CBC Toronto’s annual holiday food bank campaign, has surpassed the $500,000 mark, raising $501,200 and 13,720 pounds of food.

Daily Bread food bank executive director Gail Nyberg, speaking on CBC’s Metro Morning Wednesday, said she’s elated by the totals stemming from the Dec. 7 event at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto.

"When I stood on the stage with [Metro Morning host] Matt Galloway, I threw a figure out, and said ‘Wouldn’t it be just fantastic to say we broke a half million dollars?' and thanks to your listeners, we did it."

The Sounds of the Season event, presented in partnership with the Ontario Association of Foodbanks, brought dozens of performers and thousands of visitors to the Broadcast Centre. Many came to take in the festive music, meet CBC personalities and most importantly, drop off donations of cash and non-perishable food.

Donation totals 'a phenomenal number'

"It’s a phenomenal number," said Nyberg of the donation totals. "It gives us hope that we can find a solution to this."

Nyberg said Daily Bread and other Toronto-area food banks saw an increased demand for their services in 2012.

"We keep hearing that the economy is recovering and doing well but those who are living with low income aren’t doing so well," she said. "That fact that we did these numbers is so gratifying to me."

She said the contributions will help food banks in the early months of the year, when giving often dips after the holiday season.

"[These donations] mean February and March won’t be as bleak," said Nyberg.

Susan Marjetti, managing director of CBC for the Ontario region, thanked CBC viewers and listeners for this season's record donation totals.

"It's the essence of being a public broadcaster to give back to the community," she said. "Thank you Toronto for your generosity and kindness. It will make life a little better for a lot of people this winter."