ETOBICOKE, Ont. – Trucks For Change hosted its fourth annual partner reception last night, where its sponsors, charity partners and media partners all gathered to toast the organization for its giving spirit at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke.
President and founder Pete Dalmazzi said the day is one he looks forward to each year.
“It’s frankly my most exciting day of the year to share the room with people who ‘get it’ from our industry,” he said. “And what they ‘get’ is when people invest in communities, we invest in ourselves and invest in our businesses. And we don’t just do good for others, but we’re doing the right thing for ourselves and our industry, as well.”
Pete Dalmazzi, president and founder of Trucks For Change
Trucks For Change began in 2011 with the vision of simply moving freight for charities across the country.
“We can make a real difference by helping charities do what they do best, which is change lives and make a difference in our communities while fighting hunger, homelessness, disease and disaster,” he added. “We didn’t invent trucking philanthropy, but we like to think we changed the way that it happens by working collaboratively and efficiently. The premise is whenever there is a charitable load out there, whether it be a truckload of mannequins for Goodwill, or if it’s a load of potatoes for Food Banks Canada, or it’s a load of books…we somewhere can find the trucker with space on the truck to move it, and a heart big enough to donate or discount that service which may make the difference of accepting that donation or not.”
Dalmazzi said the organization has 70 trucking partners than span across Canada’s 10 provinces. These partners have helped moved more than 12 million pounds of donated goods to date. The companies have also donated more than $200,000 in in kind donations.
The event also saw a wide variety of speakers including Angela Splinter of Trucking HR Canada who discussed how being involved in networks like Trucks For Change will help to attract younger people into your business since giving back is a big priority for millennials when it comes to choosing an employer.
Also speaking about the good that Trucks for Change does, was Kriska’s Mark Seymour, and Mark Napier, retired NHL player and current leader of the NHL Alumni Association.
After the reception, seven teams of 10 from the trucking industry followed Dalmazzi to the Daily Bread Food Bank where competition heated up and Trucks for Change showed just how easy it was to mix trucking and charity through the Food Sort Challenge.
The Daily Bread Food Bank operates within the boundaries of Toronto and provides food hampers to those in need.
“We deliver food in five trucks with five drivers all in the Toronto core,” explained Gail Nyberg, executive director of the food bank. “So it gets complicated. Our drivers are busy doing the work, so when we have a really special event, we have to call Pete. We have to call on you to help us because we only have five trucks and five drivers. Once we had to do 700 pickups in three days. We can’t do that with five trucks. But you helped us do that. And so I want to thank you. You are helping the most unfortunate in this city and we count on you to help us.
“(The Food Sort Challenge) is in my opinion, the best event that was ever conceived by a charity. We get you to come compete with each other, do our work in sorting the food and you pay for the honour,” she joked. “And it is a lot of fun, too.”
Teams from the trucking industry were pinned against each other in the Food SOrt Challenge and had to sort and pack thousands of pounds of food for the food bank. Food donations were checked for expiry dates and sorted in appropriate boxes to help those in need and teams were definitely hustling in the process.
According to organizers, the Food Sort Challenges help them sort through as much food in 90 minutes as volunteers do in close to 50 weeks. Teams also donated money to the food bank to participate.
The object of the competition was to sort through as much food by weight as fast as possible. Rankings were calculated by the time taken and total weight sorted.
In the end – yours truly – team Newcom came out above the rest. All seven teams helped to sort more than 22,000 lbs of food in just 90 minutes, while raising more than $18,000 for the Daily Bread Food Bank.
“This event was the kickoff for Rolling Over Hunger, a holiday campaign involving food collection drives happening across the trucking industry,” said Dalmazzi.
Carriers and industry supporters who are either already planning food collection drives for their local food bank agencies, or who would like to do so should contact Trucks For Change at (905) 844-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The official ranking of the competition was as follows: