Helping to fill food banks

CALGARY, Alta. – Rolling across Western Canada again this year, 18 Wheels of Christmas will be collecting donations to help those in need this Holiday season.

What started in 2002 as an effort to bring together those in trucking industry, help fill food banks across the country and support communities in which they do business, 18 Wheels of Christmas has turned into a raving success, as organizer Colleen Nickel pointed out.

“Collectively, we have raised in excess of one million pounds of food for local food banks over the past 13 years,” Nickel said, adding that Rosenau Transport leads the campaign and has been the effort’s biggest supporter and sponsor.

Nickel said the campaign looks for non-perishable food items, as well as cash and check donations.

“With these donations, we will purchase the groceries, as the premise is to ‘help fill the trailer,’” Nickel explained.

A $1,000 donation will get the donor’s name decaled on the Christmas scroll which is then placed on a specially-wrapped trailer for a period of one year. There are currently five wrapped trailers representing Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Saskatoon/Regina and a Northern Alberta/B.C. trailer that travels from Grande Prairie, Alta. to Fort St. John, B.C.

Nickel said their northern trailer completed a toy drive Nov. 18 in Dawson Creek, B.C., which will head for Chetwynd, B.C., arriving Nov. 26, where it will be set up in the IGA parking lot.

This is the first year 18 Wheels of Christmas will visit Chetwynd.

An event in Grande Prairie also took place Nov. 6 and Nov. 11, as well as in Saskatoon for the Santa Claus Parade Nov. 20 and an upcoming event in Edmonton.

“(We are) fully engaged this month and well into December,” said Nickel, with an event the Nov. 25-27 weekend in Calgary at Save-On-Foods on Seton Crescent, as well as Save-On-Foods locations in Calgary regions such as Walden Dec. 2-4, Heritage and Panorama Dec. 9-11 and multiple appearances at the Save-On-Foods in Calgary’s Lake Bonavista region every weekend until Dec. 11.

The campaign, 18 Wheels of Christmas, is not a registered charity, but rather provides a means for donations to reach food banks in various communities. Organizers say 100% of all cash and check donations goes to the food bank in the community where the donation originated, and is also used to purchase essential items for food banks, like baby food, diapers and other things that were lacking in contributions.

Nickel said they have all the volunteers they need for 2016, but are always looking for more for upcoming years.
Those wanting to volunteer or donate to the cause can e-mail Nickel at

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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