This story is inspired by the following call to action that the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) put forward to the PMTC membership on September 21, 2020:
One of our members works very closely with local food banks, and is in need of support from someone in the PMTC membership who is able to help out. Coca-Cola has donated 10 skids of Minute Maid Products to be donated to a local food bank. The product needs to be picked up and delivered this week. The pick up and delivery locations are both in Etobicoke, and the address and information is below. If the transportation of the product can be donated to help out, it would be great, however if you need your costs covered, we understand, and our member will help out in that regard.
The needs of food banks has increased dramatically since the onset of COVID-19, and anyway we can support this cause would be greatly appreciated. Please reply back to this email as soon as possible if you are able to help out.
PMTC’s call to the membership a presented opportunity for a member to help out another – or in this case, four members. PMTC members Coca-Cola Ltd., Wolseley Canada Inc., Gordon Food Services and the Ontario Truck Training Academy (OTTA) came together to deliver for cause: the TNO Food Collaborative Project.
The TNO Food Collaborative Project is a community-based multicultural, multi-service agency that provides services to residents of Thorncliffe Park and surrounding areas. COVID-19 has had such a negative impact on the world – putting people out of work and companies out of business; placing instability on essentials, including food; escalating pre-existing matters, including domestic violence and mental illness – that having a connection to a support system like TNO is essential.
Darcy MacCallum, Director of Family & Wellness with TNO Food Collaborative Project, explained that this initiative came into fruition to help the community and provide some stability during a very unstable time.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out we began hearing about a massive need for emergency food support as people were losing jobs, needing to isolate, or struggling to just make ends meet and put food on the table. So, with the support of many different partners, we launched the TNO Food Collaborative and have been able to provide over 4,000 food hampers since April – each designed to support a family of five for one month,” said MacCallum. “Each partner has played a crucial role in making this initiative work. One of those great partners is the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, who put out a call to help us pick up skids of donated food.”
Yvette Lagrois, President of the Ontario Truck Training Academy, Past Chair of the TTSAO and PMTC member, has been working closely with the TNO Food Collaborative Project – volunteering her time, providing financial contributions and introducing the not-for-profit into her network, including Gordon Food Services and the PMTC – which led to Wolseley Canada Inc.
Meanwhile, PMTC member Coca-Cola Ltd. has been involved with supporting the TNO Food Collaborative and community since it started in March 2020. Daryn Everett, Director of Customer Operations with Coca-Cola Ltd. explained that their company has a longstanding relationship with the Thorncliffe Park community (their previous Canadian headquarters was located in the same neighbourhood) so Coca-Cola Ltd. had the opportunity to support TNO Food Collaborative from the beginning.
“This past March, TNO reached out for product donations as they were in the early stages of creating their new TNO Food Collaborative. We agreed to supply them with 85,000 juice boxes of Minute Maid,” said Everett.
In addition, Everett worked closely with the Leaside Toy Drive and its members to help establish the new Food collaborative. This work included sourcing product donations, bulk purchase discounts and warehouse operational expertise.
“On behalf of the Minute Maid Supply Chain Team, we offered an additional donation of 10 skids of Minute Maid juice boxes to TNO,” said Everett.“
Darcy MacCallum indicated that they would arrange the transportation from the Minute Maid warehouse to TNO’s Food Collaborative through Wolseley Canada Inc.”
Jon Ratnasamy, Logistics Director at Wolseley Canada Inc., said that once they received the call from PMTC to pick up ‘10 skids of Minute Maid,’ the team acted quickly to help.
“We worked with OTTA to determine where the product was and where it needed to go, then we jumped in and had our dispatch team connect with [Coca-Cola Ltd.] and where we were picking up the product. It’s funny because this is what they do all day long, but this was for a charity and we picking up [and delivering] food, not plumbing and HVAC products, which is usually what we would do. The only piece for us was we wanted to make sure we had the right equipment. 10 skids of Minute-Maid are quite heavy so we sent one of our larger trucks (the weight they supplied us [for the 10 skids] was 20,000 pounds). We picked up from Ya-Ya Foods in Etobicoke and we dropped it off at TNO Food Collaborative.”
Ratnasamy said that his team was absolutely pumped to take part and help this important cause. “It felt great – everyone from the driver to the dispatcher to my leadership team on the transportation side were really happy that we got to contribute in our own little way. We did it because we could and it’s the right thing to do but there was definitely a halo effect with the team feeling positive about our contributions.”
MacCallum and his team of volunteers are grateful to partner PMTC and its members for working together to deliver for the TNO Food Collaborative Project. “What an amazing community! Thank you so much to the PMTC members who stepped up and came together as a collective to deliver this food to the TNO Food Collaborative and serve the community. Together we have helped keep over 2,500 people safe and fed throughout the pandemic.”
Lagrois is thankful to her fellow PMTC members for coming together to support TNO. “PMTC members are a unique group of people and seeing Wolseley Canada Inc., Gordon Food Services, Coca-Cola Ltd. and the OTTA come together is a small but big thing.”
Wolseley Canada Inc. and Coca-Coca Ltd. both agree that if they have the opportunity to work together again, they absolutely will.
“We greatly appreciate how Wolseley Canada willingly offered up their transportation services on short notice to help facilitate this Minute Maid juice donation for TNO’s Food Collaborative. This is a great example of organizations coming together to support a good cause and make an impact in our local communities,” said Everett.
“Wolseley Canada operates in many communities across Canada, and as such, being a good neighbour and giving back to our community [including United Way and Special Olympics] is a part of our DNA – with so many Canadians hit hard by current circumstances, we felt our actions to deliver the donations was the least we could do,” said Ratnasamy.
To learn more about the TNO Food Collaborative Project and how you can contribute, visit www.tno-toronto.com or follow the project on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TNOtoronto) and Twitter (@TNOtoronto).