Members of the Trucks for Change (T4C) network held their first in-person annual luncheon since the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday. But while the pandemic put a temporary halt to the luncheon, it did nothing to curtail the generosity of the fleets involved in the program.
Trucks for Change was founded in 2011 and since then has moved nearly 27 million pounds of goods for various charities. Trucking companies involved offer their available capacity to transport goods such as donated food for charities right across Canada.
“We have the ability to go anywhere there are roads,” said Betsy Sharples, executive director of T4C. “We have a very vast reach that’s unique to the road carrier sector.”
Trucking HR Canada meanwhile, wants to recognize the carriers that provide transportation for charitable causes. It announced it will add the T4C Achievement of Excellence for Carrier Engagement beginning next year, as part of its existing Top Fleet Employers award program.
“Caring for the community and engaging employees in charitable activities is an integral part of what makes an organization a desirable place to work,” Angela Splinter, CEO, Trucking HR Canada, said in a release. “We’re proud to partner with T4C on this new award that will celebrate and recognize organizations making positive contributions across Canada.”
“Trucks for Change has been facilitating positive contributions to our communities since 2011,” added Trucks for Change board chairman, Scott Smith. “We are thrilled to sponsor an award that recognizes Canadian trucking companies that are actively engaged in community giving.”
Splinter noted while the Top Fleet Employers program recognizes the best workplaces in the Canadian trucking industry, charitable initiatives have a direct impact on employee satisfaction and retention.
“When giving back to the community, it’s all a part of your brand as an employer,” she told T4C network fleets attending the luncheon.
Sharples shared how the program has grown and evolved over the past several years, right through the pandemic.
“Trucks 4 Change carriers continued to respond to charity partner requests and move food and essential goods to those in need,” she said, noting there was a 2 million pound increase in goods moved through the program from 2019 to 2020. More than 4.3 million pounds of food was delivered to food banks in 2020 alone, and from 2021 to 2023, 494,315 lb. of bottled water was delivered to those experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
Sharples said finding T4C carriers to transport such loads has been easier than she expected. “The first time I [asked for carriers to help] within five minutes I had seven responses,” she said. “That is how generous and responsive our T4C carriers are.”
And those fleets have volunteered to haul more than just food. In 2021 they partnered with the First Books Canada program to deliver donated books to help promote children’s literacy. J.D. Smith & Sons palletized and staged the shipments, and seven other participating fleets delivered the books to food banks across Canada for distribution.
In another initiative in 2022, 50 employees from seven carriers and sponsors spent four days constructing a house in Kitchener, Ont., for Habitat for Humanity. And the organization also teamed up with After the Bell to deliver 75,000 food packs for children who rely on in-school meal programs. Twenty-nine carriers took place in that initiative.
Then there’s The Food Good Foundation effort, which supplies canned food to food banks at deeply discounted prices. Trucks 4 Change delivered 1.4 million pounds of that charity’s products to Canadian food banks.
Lisa Wernham, director of national food sharing with Food Banks Canada, thanked carriers in the room for their generosity and noted they play an invaluable role in getting donated food to those who most need it. Donated food includes canned tuna, chickpeas, rice and pasta.
“It takes farmers to donate the product, manufacturers to donate time and effort, the can supplier to cut costs tremendously, someone to design and print labels – and people like yourselves to orchestrate all this and deliver to the food banks,” she said. “Without one of those pieces, it doesn’t happen…it takes a village of which you are part. Projects like this make a tangible difference to people you may not know or see, but you know are out there.”
More information about Trucks 4 Change can be found at Trucksforchange.org. To enter the 2024 Top Fleet Employers program and its new T4C Achievement of Excellence for Carrier Engagement award, visit Truckinghr.com/top-fleet-employers.
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