Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Calgary 18 Wheels of Christmas 2015…….most successful campaign ever!!!!!!

Alberta has reached a very low point in the economy, with tens of  thousands of Albertan's losing their jobs and probably experiencing a situation they never thought they would be in, using the Food Bank. 18 Wheels of Christmas Calgary found, even with the economic downturn, the giving from our communities to be at its highest.


We started in Okotoks for their annual Light Up event. 18 Wheels is becoming more involved in the community with the residents looking forward to seeing the trailer and helping to fill it. At the stroke of 9PM as the fireworks were beginning, Okotoks Food Bank volunteers arrived at the trailer and started loading the donations into their truck for distribution in the days following.

The next morning we were at the Lake Bonavista Promenade. We have been invited back every year from our inception in 2002 and have now been deemed a “Yearly Tradition” by Vyetta and Bev. These 2 ladies stand with us for the entire time we are there. Outside in temperatures sometimes so brutal you cannot feel any part of your body. The generosity of this community never fails to amaze.

The following week we were invited to Fluor's south Calgary office.  We have said it so many times before but this office of a thousand people is a community unto itself and their spirit of giving would be hard to find anywhere else. We look forward to being in the lobby of this building every year as their commitment to bettering the lives of others can’t be beat.

We did something quite different this year and it was a ton of fun!!! We were invited to team up with save-on-foods, 101.5 Kool FM, 95.3 The Peak and the Auburn Bay Community Association for their 2nd annual Parade of Lights!!!! There is nothing more fun than pushing shopping carts through the streets behind our 18 Wheels cube van and collecting food donations. Who knew a community could come together and be so generous while standing in the cold waiting for the floats. We had 6 volunteers pushing shopping carts collecting donations from the crowds on the street.  From all the donations we received we had to stop the truck and unload the carts multiple times because the carts were overflowing. We lost track on how many times the carts needed to be unloaded, that's how generous the community was!!!!! A young boy, maybe about 8, stepped forward and gave 1 dollar in change to one of our volunteers with the instructions “this is for the Food Bank”. He was the hero of the night.

With the help of Kool FM and The Peak, we parked the 18 Wheels of Christmas trailer for 48 hours at each Calgary save-on-foods stores over the course of a 4 week period. We had radio personalities, impromptu entertainment from local talent and of course the antics of Mr. and Mrs. Skippy to keep
everyone amused. Santa had a hard time containing the little Imps. Skippy and Brad Dryden of Kool mornings with Dryden and Michelle, hit it off from the beginning and what one didn’t think of to do the other one did which of course created havoc a few times.





It was hard work, cold at times, tiring at other times. Everything was worth it to see the faces of the representatives from the Calgary Food Bank when we delivered 56 skids of food completely filling every square inch of the trailer from the floor to the ceiling. We could not have been more proud when we presented our envelope with tax receipt requests and the fabulous donation from Rosenau Transport for $3,333.34.




The commitment shown by all our volunteers, drivers, mechanics, graphics department team and of course Rosenau Transport Ltd. helped to make our events successful and the Food Bank forever grateful.

Thank you for making 2015 such a success!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

OUR EDMONTON 18 WHEELS TEAM WORKS A MORNING SHIFT AT THE FOOD BANK.....



This morning the 18 Wheels of Christmas Edmonton volunteers had the privilege work an 8:30am-12pm shift at the Edmonton Food Bank building food hampers for the less fortunate.
So it is now as I reflect what we were a witness to today and on my own life, my heart is heavy.  Growing up, we were never what you considered a privileged family, but we never went without. Were things tight sometimes?  Absolutely, but we never went without. My parents were always able to put food on the table, and we were blessed.
Hearing today the statistics of the numbers of people relying on the food bank and how the number is steadily increasing, and                       what the early projections for 2016 are, you can’t help but wonder how this could have happened. We live in Alberta, the “oil rich” province. How can it be? Unfortunately it is a reality thousands are facing every day.
As we built food hampers and listened to different people’s stories, I can’t imagine how these individuals that work at the Food Bank stay so positive and uplifting being surrounded by such gloom and personal hardship. I think it helps to have a great group of people, like Tamisan and Vince, who continually provide the laughter and keep looking at the good and focusing only on the positive.
While we were there, we met a homeless man, his story is heart breaking, and the Food Bank is now his safe haven, he stops in and is never turned away. They allow him a place to get warm, give him a bite to eat, and he is the nicest man you would ever hope to meet. As Santa handed out candy canes and gloves to everyone waiting, this man politely asked if he could have two pairs of the kid’s gloves to give to his grandchildren for a Christmas gift. When we left, he was outside and with a big grin, shouted “Merry Christmas” to us all from across the parking lot.
We can make a difference. There is still time to help. No man, woman, or child should ever have to go hungry. 

PLEASE DONATE TODAY!
Merry Christmas to you and your families!


Sandra



Friday, December 11, 2015

GRANDE PRAIRIE...THE CUP RUNNETH OVER !



18 Wheels Grande Prairie was once again a tremendous success. They out did last years totals with 14 pallets of food and $538 in cash! In a unique twist, the 18 Wheels Team chose to use the cash to purchase 21 $25 Super Store gift cards which were given to the Food Bank to use in whatever way they saw fit.


 With the truck strategically parked at the Superstore in Grande Prairie, donations started coming in as soon as the doors opened.
 We caught up with Rosenau Transport Managers Les and Rosa Harnett early on in their first day and they were already busy at work loading donations into the trailer.
 Lots of great people, volunteers and even a few furry friends dropped by throughout the day!

Every single donation counts but throughout the event, we had many large donations from individuals and groups!

There were collection boxes inside the store as well and 18 Wheels Volunteers were inside frequently throughout the day emptying the boxes and bringing the donations out to the trailer!


No event is complete without a visit from the big guy himself. Santa was on hand several times throughout the day making sure that things ran smoothly!


The trailer looks beautiful at night and attract plenty of attention from a distance!



A terrific idea! As people made donations, their names were added to the 18 Wheels Poster Board!

Grande Prairie is already planning next years event and looking forward to making a difference!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dawson Creek Wrap Up at the Co-Op


Dawson Creek's 18 Wheels was a resounding success once again this year. With 17 Pallets of Food, 2 Pallets of Toys and $2600 for the United Way !

Events on this scale require a lot of planning and coordination, and to that end, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Karen Brisebois at Rosenau Transport Ltd. and Riannon McVeigh of United Way! These two very special ladies spent countless hours, planning, meeting and executing this project. Not only were they instrumental in the planning, they were both on site the entire 2 day event, a total of 20 hours! Of course, they had many hands helping. We would like to thank Adam from Cat Rentals, the Dawson Creek RCMP, the Dawson Creek Fire Department, the Salvation Army and of course the many volunteers from Rosenau Transport. Karen G, Ed F, Blaine M, Bruce S, Cory H, Monique W, Rachel R and her daughter, Dave P, Randy W, Renie K, Chris L, Jessie and Adrian H. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to Colyn Brisebois, a former Rosenau employee who flew up from Vancouver just to help in an event that he feels so strongly about.




We had the trailer parked for two days prior to the event to generate interest and our friends at the Co-Op made sure that the Public knew what was coming. Thanks for the great sign guys!

 A Special Thank you to the four Members Of The Dawson Creek RCMP who came by, but especially Leo and Stephanie who braved the cold and the wind for several hours on our first day.
 Our good friends from the Encana Events Centre came by with a terrific donation. Thanks so much you guys for everything you do for our community!
 This event would not have been possible without the support of our Main Sponsor, The Dawson Creek Co-Op ! These guys went above and beyond. Not only did they provide us with a spot for the trailer, they provided a tent,power,  music, hot chocolate, cookies and a portable heater! To top it off, Shamir and his team put together dozens of prepackaged $25 bags of which we collected nearly 80!

 Our good friend Adam from Cat Rentals was on hand to help collect donations and man the hot chocolate and cookie table!
 The truck and trailer were a huge draw once the sun went down. We were parked right on the Alaska Highway, pretty hard to miss us. On Friday night the City Of Dawson Creek held their annual Christmas tree light up just a few blocks away on Main Street and we had volunteers down there handing out the flyers!
 We have a pretty special group of people in Dawson Creek who never fail to show up and give a hand. Our Firefighters are a valued part of our Community and we are so happy to call many of them our friends.
 The 18 Wheels event is also a great opportunity to educate people. Here, we have a poster board talking about all the great work that United Way does in the Community. Of course, we had Riannon on hand the entire time to talk about her organization and all of the good it does in the community.
 You could not ask for a more spirited, energetic champion for her cause than the one to the right. Riannon from United Way of Northern British Columbia braved bitterly cold temperatures, winds gusting to 80 kilometres an hour and long drives back and forth between Dawson Creek and Ft. St. John to make this event the success that it was. Her smile never left her face the entire time and she made a point of greeting and thanking every person who made a donation, big or small. We are privileged to work with this lady and are already looking forward to next year.

I think if I were to go through my emails, between Karen and Riannon, i have probably two dozen emails, updating us on progress, arranging meetings and making great suggestions. You two ladies are 100% responsible for the success of this event!
You can't underestimate the power of having your own fire truck front and centre promoting your cause! Naturally, we had to make sure they were parked for a quick getaway in the event that they were needed for an emergency.


 One of our first donors on Day One with a cash donation was Brett from Northern Hotshot. Brett works closely with our Rosenau Team here in Dawson and he never fails to show up when we are running a charity event!

We had many of our customers come by over Friday and Saturday bringing donations. A special thank you to our good friends over at Reg Norman Trucking who dropped by with a $500 donation that will be going to good use in United Way causes here in Dawson Creek!
 These two pretty ladies made our day on Saturday ! They are with The George Dawson Inn and came by with a $1000 donation, an amazing amount of groceries and an absolute insistence that they be involved in our event next year! Trust me, you are on the mailing list! Thank you so much for everything you do.
 Of course, we can't forget our friends at The Salvation Army who will be receiving all of the donations for their Food Bank. Though new to the area, Lieutenants Ian and Donna Rabourne were at the event frequently to help out and their gratitude for what we were doing was self evident. They also helped out with the planning and execution of the event and Donna made sure every business in Dawson Creek had a flyer. We also had Al from the Salvation Army helping out and a special Thank you to Brian who spent a total of eight hours at the event greeting the kids and having a great time....and yes, the beard is real...

Another huge contributor to this effort was our local media. Many thanks to CJDC Radio for being on location, CJDC for the TV news coverage included in this post. As well, The Alska Highway News and Northeast News for their great newspaper articles and coverage and Peace FM for their Facebook Coverage and follow up radio interview. Thank you for all you do in your community!
 We definitely attracted lots of attention over the event. Social Media was buzzing with everyone wondering why the Police and Fire Department were at Co-Op. Another great opportunity to get the message out again!
 Our trailer lights stay on year round but every year they require some TLC. As well this year, we decorated the truck. many, many thanks to my great staff at Dawson creek who punched out and helped get both units ready to go! We had many compliments on your efforts!
 Another group of people who need to be recognized are the great people who dropped by with donations just for our volunteers! A special Thank you to Krista Forshner with Krista's Kreations who dropped by with a huge tray of the most delicious cupcakes for our volunteers! Also a big shout out to the great folks at the Co-Op gas bar who made sure we had free coffee over the two day event!
 While a few volunteers manned the tables and the trailer, the bulk of our volunteers spent hours out in the cold and wind on the street waving in the public and promoting the cause! Some of these people were out there for hours without a break !
Many thanks to all of the people who made this a success! You made a difference in the lives of many people over these two days! We cannot adequately express our gratitude and we are already looking forward to next year!