Trucks deliver for charity amid Covid-19

John G Smith

TORONTO, Ont. – When ShipNorthAmerica signed up to help coordinate charitable trucking shipments through the Trucks for Change (T4C) network, account manager Christina Conforti was told to expect one or two loads a month.

Last week she matched 10 loads to donated and discounted truck services, supporting organizations such as Food Banks Canada and Feed Ontario.

“Yesterday alone we booked in three loads for them,” she said on Wednesday morning, referring to the surge in activity during Covid-19.

Kriska driver Lawrence Young, a 10-year veteran with the fleet, poses with a load of donated food picked up from AMJ Campbell. (Kriska photo)

Trucks for Change offers a coordinated hub for charitable giving in the trucking industry, helping to ensure that donated goods are distributed at a discount or free. For its part, ShipNorthAmerica offers in-kind load management services, matching requests that charities post through the MoveMatrix system.

The latest loads of food have been stored in warehouse space offered by AMJ Campbell and Mackie Group. From there, many of the April shipments have been destined for the Moisson Montreal food bank. One LTL load made five drops in King City, Ont. Another was off to London.

Participating carriers have included Trucks for Change members such as Kriska Group, Polaris Transportation, Mackie Moving, Erb Transport, Arnold Bros., Manitoulin Transport, and Gardewine. Martin Roy Transport also supported a shipment.

“It’s just been pretty busy,” Conforti says. “I’m seeing a lot of crackers, dry food products.”

Teams in the AMJ Campbell warehouse are packing around 8,000 emergency food boxes per day — the equivalent of 120-130 pallets. (Kriska photo)

Trucks for Change has coordinated almost 40 shipments since January, when ShipNorthAmerica began to conduct its related work.

“February and March started slow, but things have changed recently,” said Scott Tilley, president of the Tandet Group, which includes ShipNorthAmerica.

The support has not been limited to food banks. One load included four skids of Red Cross comfort kits, which include personal hygiene supplies for those displaced by disasters such as recent flooding in Fort McMurray, Alta. That shipment traveled to Calgary from Oakville, Ont. Other loads have involved First Books, which is offering donated books to kids who don’t have internet access or home libraries when schools are shut down.

“At the end of the day, I’ll find them the best discount they can get,” Conforti says, referring to the charity partners. “People need it.”

In the last decade Trucks for Change has helped to coordinate 1,300 shipments of charitable freight, representing 22 million lb. in donations.

Carriers interested in providing discounted services to charities in Canada are encouraged to contact Trucks for Change executive director Betsy Sharples at betsy@trucksforchange.org.

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Canadian Shipper, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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