“Sorry, We’re Closed”. These are the types of signs truck drivers were used to seeing for the past few months in truck stop and restaurant windows along our highways in Canada and the USA. Our essentials were still getting delivered, but the essential drivers were forced into packing their own meals or cooking in their truck, which isn’t an easy feat for those that are on the road for weeks at a time.
Although most drive thru restaurants remained open, very few of them could accommodate an 18- Wheeler. Some eventually allowed walk up service, providing a few more options to grab food.
“We continued to hear how difficult it was for drivers to get a hot meal”, said Aaron Lindsay, VP of Marketing with NAL Insurance. “Covid-19 didn’t allow us to meet with our clients face to face, so we thought of a way we could support the drivers and provide them with food. “
In early April, the Thank a Trucker (TAT) initiative was formed by NAL Insurance. The marketing team at NAL designed unique T-shirts, hats, and face coverings with the brand new Thank a Trucker logo and sold them online. 100% of the proceeds went to pay for hot meals, cold drinks, and PPE kits, which included masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and TAT decals for their trucks. Since that time, meals and PPE kits have been provided to more than 1200 essential truck drivers at the TA Truck Stop in Woodstock.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued and Ontario remained in a state of emergency, the team needed to find a quicker way to raise more funds to support the TAT events, so they decided to wrap a trailer with a message of appreciation to all essential workers. Companies and associations from across the industries stepped up to provide sponsorships for the trailer, which quickly raised enough funds to continue the process for a several more months.
Verspeeten Cartage was the first to sign on as a platinum sponsor. “We appreciate all the work NAL has done over the past few months, bringing to light just how essential trucking is,” said Scott Verspeeten, vice-president. “The hardworking men and women of our industry are finally getting the recognition they deserve.”
The Essential Trailer was born, and has begun travelling Canada’s highways over the past couple of weeks.
The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, prompting Thank a Trucker to work on a 2nd trailer that is expected to be released later this fall.
To find out more about the Thank a Trucker initiative, check out their website www.thankatrucker.co or contact NAL Insurance directly at (800)265-1657.