DELIVERING CHRISTMAS CHEER: The 18 Wheels of Christmas food drive is underway in Alberta.
CALGARY, Alta. – The Alberta trucking industry is once again gathering food for the less fortunate this holiday season through the 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign.
Rosenau Transport is again offering a 48-foot trailer which organizers hope to fill with food donated by the trucking industry.
Last year’s effort netted 24 skids of food which were delivered to the Medicine Hat Food Bank and the Lloydminster Salvation Army.
The names of companies donating food are displayed on the trailer as it travels the province picking up donations.
“This year we are looking for more involvement from the transportation industry,” says Colleen Nickel, one of the event’s coordinators.
“We would like to see the trucking companies and affiliates offer challenges to other companies.”
Some of the biggest contributors last year included Big Horn Transport which donated a skid of peanut butter and Rosenau which chipped in two skids of baby food. Baby food and peanut butter are two of the most sought-after commodities the Food Bank is in need of, Nickel points out.
But she urges other carriers to donate other types of food as well, whether it be Corn Flakes or Kraft Dinner. She hopes rival trucking firms can put their competitive nature to good use and challenge each other to raise the bar.
“A little competition wouldn’t hurt and it all goes to a good cause,” points out Nickel. “Everybody has been touched (by poverty) at one time or another, whether it’s been someone they know or themselves. It’s an ongoing problem.”
This year’s campaign kicked off in October, and organizers are encouraged by the response they’ve received so far.
Most of the companies that took part last year are back on-board this year, she says, but there’s a need for more participation if the entire trailer is to be filled.
“We still have to get more transportation companies involved,” Nickel stresses.
“We want to cover the Rosenau name (on the side of the trailer) entirely up with the names of other companies. We want to obliterate the name Rosenau from the trailer!”
It may seem like an odd statement coming from a Rosenau employee, however Nickel says a trailer so full of donor names would surely indicate a successful drive.
And those names stay on the trailer year-round as it’s put into regular service throughout the Prairies, she adds.
The 18 Wheels of Christmas food drive has sparked plenty of interest outside Alberta, and organizers hope that continues to snowball. They’d like to see an Eastern trucking company launch a similar initiative in the East under the 18 Wheels of Christmas banner.
The program already appears to be spreading west, with a Vancouver Island student expressing interest in launching a similar campaign there.
But for now, the goal is to fill one 48-foot trailer “from front to back, floor to ceiling” says Nickel.