Hamilton food bank supplier gets new wheels for more meals

Hamilton Food Share’s new refrigerated truck can handle 30,000 pounds of fresh and frozen food

With a healthy food policy, Hamilton Food Share focuses on quality.

And with 12 food banks in the Golden Horseshoe area to serve, there’s no getting around the issue of quantity.

Massive quantity. As in 2.7 million pounds of food a year—1.5 million of which are fresh or frozen.

“When a lot of people think about food bank supplies, they think non-perishables from food drives. But the reality is, that’s only about 15 percent of what we do,” says Celeste Taylor, resource development manager with Hamilton Food Share, a food-bank distribution hub in southern Ontario.

“The vast majority of the goods we pick up are perishables, and they’re coming from the food industry,” she adds. “It’s imperative for us to be able to transport that fresh produce from retailers and wholesalers who’ve over-ordered. Or to take 10 skids of yogurt. Or pick up massive quantities of frozen ham. Or continue operating Milk Day for all the food banks in the Hamilton-Niagara region.

“A truck,” she adds, “is a lifeline for a food bank operation.”

Hamilton Food Share’s old truck, built from used parts in 2002, had put on a lot of hard miles over 15 years. And in early June, thanks to a fundraising drive totaling nearly $200,000, the old truck was mercifully retired—and replaced by a sleek new specimen.

The current model—“the first new, nice thing we’ve ever had around here,” jokes Taylor—is a 26-foot, tandem-axle refrigerated truck with a lift gate that can move up to 30,000 pounds of fresh and frozen food.

With more than 12,000 people a month, including more than 4,000 children, supported by the 12 Hamilton-area food banks that Hamilton Food Share serves, the organization estimates this new truck will bring in more than 35 million pounds of donated food, valued at more than $80 million, during its projected 12-year life span.

“These food bank clients are very low-income members of our community, including families with young children, seniors and people with disabilities, and we want to do right by them through our healthy food policy,” says Taylor. “We’re close to the orchards in Niagara, so we get offered apples and pears. Good, healthy food. Now that we have this new truck, it’s exciting for us.”

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities near our operations and projects, including the Line 10 Westover Segment Replacement Project.

In 2016, we invested $4.64 million in community-strengthening initiatives across Ontario, while Enbridge Gas Distribution’s employee-led United Way campaign in Toronto, Ottawa and Niagara raised $1.28 million. In recent weeks, our $10,000 donation helped get Hamilton Food Share’s spiffy new set of wheels put the rubber to the road.

“This new refrigerated truck will allow us to attend community food drives like the ones put on by area schools, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the CP Holiday Train,” says Taylor. “The community really stepped forward on this project. The truck is vital to the well-being of our community—and it’s also inherently practical.”

(TOP PHOTO: A delivery of milk arrives at Hamilton Food Share in the facility's new tandem-axle refrigerated truck.)