CALGARY, Alta. – The 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign received a special gift of its own for the launch of its 2007 campaign.
Equipped with a brand new 53-foot trailer, outfitted with new decaling, the 18 Wheels of Christmas food drive rolled out Oct. 1 for what will hopefully be its largest year to date.
“We were not only filling the 48-foot trailer, but also a body job, so with this 53-foot trailer it will be a lot easier,” noted Colleen Nickel, one of the coordinators of the 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign.
Just like the previous edition, the trailer is supplied by Nickel’s employer, Rosenau Transport, and the carrier’s president enlisted the help of some clients to improve the look of the trailer with special graphics and decaling.
“Carl (Rosenau) went and talked to some companies we do business with and asked for some help,” Nickel told Truck West. “The other sponsoring companies helped with the new decaling of the trailer. It is gorgeous, absolutely beautiful. The lights are what really set it off.”
The previous trailer was similar in design to a regular Rosenau Transport trailer, with the addition of donor names sporadically decaled along the side of the trailer; but the new-look trailer is in a class all its own. The primarily black hue of the new trailer is festively decaled with snowflakes, Santa Claus on his sled, the 18 Wheels of Christmas logo and a clever little scroll, which features the names of companies donating to the campaign.
The premise of the donor list is still the same as previous years. When a company donates food or money to the campaign, the company name gets emblazoned on the side of the trailer.
About 60 company names representing last year’s donors are currently on the trailer and will remain on the trailer until July, when the list of new donors from the 2007 campaign will be placed on the side.
“So your name will be on the trailer for a full year, from July to July,” explained Nickel. “And the trailer goes back into regular service when the campaign is done.”
The four corporate sponsors – Rosenau Transport, Ocean Trailer, Thermo King and First Truck – who were essential in the acquisition and decaling of the new 53-foot trailer, have their company logos placed on the back doors of the trailer.
“We are excited,” added Nickel. “We’re hoping with the new involvement of these companies we will be bigger than last year.”
Improving on the 2006 food drive campaign will not be an easy task, as 18 Wheels of Christmas collected 70,000 pounds of food for distribution throughout the province, which was the largest collection for the five-year-old campaign.
One of the key features of the food drive campaign is its provincial scope. The 18 Wheels of Christmas trailer makes its rounds throughout Alberta during the two-and-a-half month campaign and all food donated goes back into the communities in which it is collected.
As a result, families in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Lloydminster were all recipients of generous food bank donations. In Northeastern Alberta alone, the campaign raised $32,400 in groceries and cash for distribution during a six-day convoy, which was spearheaded by a radio station based out of Lloydminster.
“We’re hoping to hook up with (radio station) The Goat in Lloydminster as part of their Christmas Convoy again this year,” said Nickel. “We’re also looking at putting the trailer this year in Medicine Hat during the Parade of Lights.”
The trailer will also be making its usual morning appearances outside a couple of grocery stores in southeast Calgary, on Nov. 24 at the Lake Bonavista Promenade and on Nov. 25 at the Douglas Square Mall.
Even with all the public appearances, Nickel would like to see more corporate sponsorship to help reach this year’s goal of gathering 100,000 lbs of food for families in need.
“We’re trying to get more exposure for the campaign and for the trucking industry in general; and we will hopefully be able to do that with more involvement from the trucking industry,” said Nickel. “We’re hoping the corporate sponsorship will give us more presence and encourage other carriers to participate.”
The 18 Wheels of Christmas campaign will be accepting donations until Dec. 20, which will allow the Food Bank to have a few days to organize and distribute the food in time for Christmas.