by Today’s Trucking
March 31, 2020
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – What started mere days ago as an idea to get commercial drivers better access to food has quickly turned into a pilot project that will launch this weekend in three B.C. locations.
Just last week, a group of concerned Kamloops, B.C., residents were looking for ways to get food into the bellies of drivers amid several Covid-19-related closures and restrictions in the area.
And now, Chevron/Parkland locations in Kamloops, Chilliwack, and Abbotsford will provide space at any of their cardlocks across the province to do exactly that.And others have been eager to join the initiative.
“While this originally started as a local initiative to address providing food to truck drivers in Kamloops, we have now involved the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) to help us coordinate a provincial rollout,” said Greg Munden, who is one of the organizers of the effort. “As well, I have been talking with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) which is interested in a possible national rollout based on our experience in getting this off the ground successfully.”
Munden said there is a lot of interest from food truck operators, and the group – which was the brainchild of Kamloops businessman Brad Wood – is now vetting more for additional locations in Vernon, Kelowna, and Langley, among others.
“While this is a great opportunity to support the drivers, who are delivering our essential goods, it is also a great opportunity to employ a lot of people in the food truck industry who would otherwise be facing a very bleak spring and summer seasons,” said Munden. “It is very important that we make this successful for the food truck vendors as well.”
The group met this morning in Kamloops to go over how the effort will work logistically, and how to maintain efficiency, safety, and social distancing at the cardlock locations during this Covid-19 pandemic.
At the Kamloops location, portable washrooms will be available to drivers, and the group is working to have this availability at all locations.Greg Munden.
Munden said in light of all the industry has been doing to keep essential items available to consumers during the Covid-19 crisis, the general public and governments have become increasingly concerned for drivers who are out on the front lines.
“There seems to be a widespread understanding that if trucking stops, store shelves, which are already getting sparse for some products, will not be restocked with the necessities of life, and the economy grinds to a halt,” said Munden.
For several years, the industry has searched for ways to improve its image, particularly how the public perceives drivers, trucking, and its importance to the economy. Munden believes this current crisis has done just that.
“It is unfortunate to have taken Covid-19 to raise the importance of our sector, but it is wonderful to see people recognizing these drivers who are putting their own health concerns aside to deliver,” he said. “People know that we need to find a way to take care of our drivers.
“Suffice it to say that we are very excited to see how this concept is being embraced and supported.”