MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Trucks for Change Network, an organization that connects charities to those who can haul their freight, has just transported its 20 millionth pound of donated food — and that’s just a sample of what has been accomplished in the last seven years.
The group has also coordinated about $600,000 in industry support and 1,600 volunteer hours, president Pete Dalmazzi said during an annual partnership celebration.
Examples in the past year alone have included support for the Plaid for Dad campaign fighting prostate cancer, delivering a donated wheelchair to a young member of the Humboldt Broncos who was paralyzed in a truck-bus crash, and sending goods to isolated indigenous communities. Trucks for Change supporters had a presence in the Truck Convoy for Special Olympics, “Get Loud” fundraising for Sick Kids Hospital, Trucking for a Cure, and the Truck Pull for United Way. And the organization has coordinated shipments for everyone from food banks to Habitat for Humanity.
“There’s a lot of people having fun doing it, and that’s what we try to do. Make it fun and make it impactful,” Dalmazzi said.
Trucks for Change helps to realize those opportunities.
“The trucking industry has always had a charitable aspect,” JD Smith CEO Scott Smith observed. “What Pete did is bring some structure.”
About 12 out of more than 25 supported charities were in the room during the event, many sharing stories about important deliveries of everything from food to books, supporting communities in need.
“They do the real work in helping our communities,” said Dalmazzi.
A representative of the Canadian Red Cross arrived with an example of the supplies delivered through the Personal Disaster Assistance Program that can offer vital support for 72 hours after a small-scale disaster. Kriska Transportation offered the warehouse space needed to build the kits, and Maritime Ontario Freight Lines ensured the kits were shipped out of the province.
“Think of the Bag of Power. That’s what’s going in the field,” said Ken Widdifield, manager – logistics operations, Ontario. Trucks for Change helped to ensure the supplies are located nearby.
Kriska was singled out with a special honor for its overall charitable work, which has included everything from fundraising to trucking activities.
Meanwhile, Alex MacKinnon of Contrans Flatbed was recognized with the True Service Humanitarian Bursary Award. He swam 20 km across Lake Erie in just over eight hours to support Crohn’s Disease, raising $22,000 in the process.
Finding extra space for donated freight or supporting other charitable causes can actually be a special challenge when the industry is exceptionally busy, observed Norm Sneyd, vice-president of business development at Bison Transport. “It’s really easy when you’re knee-deep into it to say, ‘I don’t have time for this.’”
“It’s getting harder. Trucks are fuller. Business is strong,” Dalmazzi agreed.
But through Trucks for Change, fleets are finding the time to make that difference.