trucks for change

T4C-CTA Carriers Deliver Wheelchairs, Toys to Indigenous Communities

Seven Trucks for Change (T4C) network member carriers delivered a total of 41 pallets of playsets and wheelchairs to northern Indigenous communities.

True North Aid, a T4C charity partner that distributes humanitarian help to northern Indigenous communities, reached out to T4C in late November 2023, asking to move Goodwill Industries-donated wheelchairs and LEGO playsets to Indigenous communities across the country, reports.

Seven fleets picked up a total of 36 pallets of wheelchairs from London, Ont., and five pallets of LEGO-donated sets from Concord, Ont., and distributed them across Canada. All the charitable deliveries were aligned with normal operations to maximize efficiency communities.

Betsy Sharples, executive director at T4C said carriers responded to the inquiry instantly, adding she appreciates the fleets’ efforts to accommodate the request during the busy holiday season that brings with it challenges like unpredictable weather.

“If they can’t do a certain shipment or run because they don’t cover that lane, they will suggest somebody who can, and, in some cases, they’ll actually put me in touch with a contact at that organization to get it moving,” she said.

“It’s extremely rewarding to be able to deal with such an amazing group of community-minded and very supportive carriers.”

Deliveries to Ontario and Manitoba were tackled first. Onfreight Logistics moved 31 wheelchair pallets from London to Concord, Ont., where they were stored in JD Smith & Sons’ warehouse. Arnold Bros. picked up the 16 pallets to move to Winnipeg, Man. The wheelchairs were palletized with gaylords or mounted on pallets.

The fleet later picked up another five pallets of LEGO sets from the warehouse to deliver them to nine locations in northern Manitoba, not accessible by road. Arnold Bros. delivered pallets to two aviation companies in the Winnipeg area to fly them to those remote communities.

The company delivered another load of 15 pallets of wheelchairs later. Due to receiving restrictions during the Christmas holidays, the loads were held at J.D. Smith & Sons’ warehouse until late December and delivered to Thunder Bay, Ont., in early January.

Meanwhile, Arnold Bros. delivered the 16 Manitoba-designated wheelchair pallets with the rest of the LEGO sets to Gardewine Transport Group’s facility in Winnipeg, in December.

Gardewine then delivered LEGO to Split Lake, Man., and wheelchairs to Hodgson, Man.; Pelican Narrows, Sask; and Beauval, Sask.

In January, T4C turned its sights to moving the final five pallets of wheelchairs to remote communities in Alberta and B.C.

Bison Transport moved all the pallets from Ontario to two carriers’ facilities in Edmonton, Alta., for furtherance. From there, Grimshaw Trucking delivered four pallets to Grande Cache, Alta.., and Bandstra Transportation Systems moved the rest to Binche, B.C.

Sharples said it felt “fabulous” to assist True North Aid with their request.

The challenging logistics of the moves required creative thinking and execution, and T4C is uniquely placed to provide the help needed, she added.

“When this all came together, when I was able to actually go back to True North Aid with a quote, from all these carriers at severely discounted rates, I might add, it was a really good feeling to be able to do that and show them that we were capable of taking [on] this very unique and challenging request.”

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