There are moments where life hits you square in the chest, and you’re reminded of how grateful you are, how lucky you are to be able to wake up in the morning and see the sunshine. I was reminded of that this week when a friend of my family died of COVID-19. Life is precious. Sunshine is precious. Here’s to spreading more sunshine with five good things that happened in trucking this week.
Olive Garden parent company adds mobile food banks to help communities
Darden Restaurants – the parent company to Olive Garden – has partnered with Feeding America to enhance mobile food pantry programs in areas with higher levels of food insecurity through a $500,000 grant. From the Darden Restaurants Inc. Foundation and additional support from Darden's partners, Penske Truck Leasing and Lineage Logistics, five Feeding America food banks will each receive a 26-foot refrigerated box truck to help increase access to nutritious food and address transportation needs.
Feeding America helped identify five food banks serving communities of color with disproportionately high levels of food insecurity and the need to increase their mobile food pantry capacity to serve neighbors facing hunger:
- Feeding the Valley Food Bank in Midland, Ga.
- Food Bank of Northwest Louisiana in Shreveport, La.
- Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tenn.
- San Antonio Food Bank in San Antonio, Texas
- Second Harvest of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.
"As a restaurant company, we are uniquely positioned to make a meaningful difference in the fight against hunger, and we are proud to partner with Feeding America to make a positive impact in communities where it is needed most," said Gene Lee, chairman and CEO of Darden. "Mobile food pantries are an important tool to help food banks meet the increased need caused by the pandemic. These vehicles will help Feeding America food banks in five different states directly distribute a large supply of food in their communities for years to come."
These efforts go hand-in-hand with Darden's Harvest program. Each day, every Darden restaurant collects surplus, wholesome food that is not served to guests and prepares it for donation to local nonprofit partners. Since its inception, more than 120 million pounds of food — totaling more than 100 million meals — have been donated through the Harvest program.
"Hunger in America is a devastating reality for millions of our neighbors. The pandemic has created an increased need for food assistance and caused major disruptions for charitable food distribution," said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO for Feeding America. "Mobile food pantries are a critical solution to addressing both concerns. These refrigerated vehicles will remove significant barriers to getting food to vulnerable populations in five different communities. We are grateful to Darden, Penske and Lineage for making this possible."
XPO Logistics expedite team lends a hauling hand to Michigan’s annual ice festival
In Buchanan, Mich., the annual Hunter Ice Festival went on as scheduled, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, not as originally planned according to WNDU.
“We were able to work with the carvers and the health department and the sheriff’s department to have it be just ice, not the extras that we usually have,” said Lisa Croteau with the Niles Downtown Development Authority. “So, there won’t be any shows, any fire and ice, there will be no ice wars, there will be no ice, ice cream booth.”
This year, 28 ice sculptures were on display—down from the usual 150. But according to XPO Logistics, there was a small crisis – a shortage of ice.
“Our expedite team out in Buchanan saved the day for the annual Hunter Ice Festival,” said XPO Logistics in a Facebook post. “With a last-minute lack of refrigerated trucks to move the ice sculptures, XPO’s Jim Badics and his team stepped up and transported over 39,000 lbs of ice from Ohio to the festival. Thank you all for rising to the occasion!”
Pictured are XPO’s Sara Shreve’s niece and nephew Lily and Emmett enjoying the festival.
FedEx employees go above and beyond for their customers
Yesterday, two FedEx employees were called out on Twitter for their good deeds in the community.
First, West Virginia-based Maribeth Anderson tweeted that her local FedEx delivery man saved her dog after high winds blew her home’s front gate open, giving way for a quick doggie escape. Luckily, her FedEx driver was close by and caught Buddy.
“Buddy was happily rescued and carefully delivered,” Anderson said.
At the same time, a Chicago FedEx store worker helped customer Jami Laudicina get her packages to her car in freezing temperatures.
In Laudicina’s tweet, she said, “This guy made my day.” Enough said.
Love’s Travel Stops dotes out incentive for employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Love's Travel Stops will pay its employees an additional $75 to voluntarily receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
The announcement covers all employees from the entire Love's Family of Companies, which also includes Love's Truck Care and Speedco centers, alternative fuel provider Trillium, its commodity trading company Musket, the Gemini trucking fleet, its hotels and more.
"A big element of our culture is taking care of our team members so we're always thinking of new ways to do that," said Love's President Shane Wharton. "As an essential business, our employees have worked tirelessly to keep America moving, and the vaccine, along with following safety protocols, offers the best protection from COVID-19. The incentive is another way of encouraging our employees to stay safe during the pandemic."
Rumpke driver saves 10-week-old puppy from a discarded backpack
Rumpke Waste & Recycling driver Aaron Kinsel was servicing customers, according to the company’s tweet, when he noticed movement from a discarded backpack.
When Kinsel opened the backpack, he discovered a 10-week-old puppy.