Kamloops-born initiative raises $65,000 to feed truckers

$65k worth of trucker meals

"It's certainly nothing that we would have ever expected."

Greg Munden, owner of Munden Ventures Ltd., is still in awe of the community's response to the Meals for Truckers program he helped launch two months ago. The Kamloops business owner had heard how hard it was for professional truck drivers to find decent grub while on the road, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and restaurant closures. Munden pitched Parkland (owner of Chevron) on having food trucks parked at their cardlock properties; the food truck industry could get some business and truck drivers could have another option when it comes to filling their bellies.

Parkland agreed and food trucks started popping up in Kamloops, Chilliwack, Hope, West Kelowna and Kelowna. 

To date, the program has brought in $65,000 in sponsorship money. That's the equivalent of 4,350 meals.

"Free meals was never even contemplated, never really part of the plan," Munden says with a laugh. "It's been amazing from that perspective."

Sponsoring a full day of meals has come from all types of businesses. Ocean Trailer, FortisBC, Inland Kenworth, Nature's Fare Market and Tolko Industries have all stepped up. Individual donations have come in too; Muden is quick to mention George and Bobby Harrison, who made a $3,000 contribution. There's also Kris Gunderson, a truck owner/operator based in the River City, who paid for a full day's worth of meals.

"I thought that was a pretty neat story of industry giving back to industry," Munden tells Castanet. "He's really feeding his competition in some ways."

Looking ahead, Munden says the program will continue to operate as long as there's a need. He says some food truck operators have expressed interest in maintaining their cardlock location beyond the pandemic.

"They've been really surprised at the response and how good the business has actually been for them, whether or not they have a sponsored day or not. ... I think what will be really interesting to see is what life does it (the program) take on after COVID-19."

Truckers, meanwhile, are "very surprised" and "astounded" by the outpouring of support. 

"In a lot of ways, they've kind of been unrecognized for a long time," Munden says. "They don't typically have people coming forward to provide things to them in doing their work, like this program has. I think it's given them a real sense of pride in the job that they're doing, just the fact that people are acknowledging the importance of what they're doing. ... There's been just so many people, I think, that want to say thanks, thanks for continuing to move the freight during this time and keep the stores stocked."

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