A Kamloops food truck, Cookshack Cravings, will be serving truckers at the Chevron Commercial Cardlock on Versatile Drive, starting this weekend.
Due to restaurant closures and fast-food franchises moving to drive-thru only, it has become more difficult than ever for semi-truck drivers to get a meal when they stop for fuel.
“It’s started to create a real problem both provincially, across the country and into the U.S., for these drivers to access food at places that they can actually get trucks and trailers into," said Greg Munden, owner of Munden Truck & Equipment Co. in Kamloops.
Munden put this project into motion, as he is closely involved with the B.C. Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance. He reached out to Parkland to ask if they could set up a food truck at their Chevron Cardlock in Kamloops, where many truckers stop for fuel.
"They were more than willing to participate," said Munden. "We’d initially really thought about this as a local concept for the Kamloops area, and Parkland came back to us and said they would open up their Cardlock sites across the province for us to do this."
Cookshack Cravings will be the first food truck stationed at a Cardlock, and serve as a model for other food trucks to do the same across the province. Porta Potties will also be on location.
"We’ll iron out the kinks and put that model out to the B.C. Trucking Association and the Canadian Trucking Alliance," said Munden, who added that the organizations were both very excited about the project. "They feel like it might be rolled out nationally."
As all of her events for April have been cancelled, Deanna Bell, owner of Cookshack Cravings, was looking for a way she could give back to the community. Initially, she parked in her driveway and served food to her neighbourhood, but in light of the current public health situation, she felt it was unwise to continue.
"I thought that it was just going to be too risky," said Bell, explaining that although the event went well, concerns were raised in the following days as COVID-19 cases were on the rise.
Instead, Bell will be stationed at the truck stop from 6:30 a.m. until early evening. For the launch of the project, she will be there April 4 and 5. In the following weeks she will work Wednesday to Saturday, adding more days if her staff is available.
“We feel confident by taking all precautions that feeding the truckers is the right thing to do right now," said Bell. She and her cook will be wearing masks and gloves, and accepting debit or credit only.
Bell has expanded her menu for the project, adding subs and sandwiches that truckers can take to eat later in their shift.
"I'm a foodie, I want to feed everybody," explained Bell. "When I see these poor truckers literally going to McDonald's and A&W every day, it’s a crying shame."
Munden expects that the model will be finalized following this weekend's launch, and ready to roll-out to the province early next week.
Once food trucks have been established at all major truck stops, Munden will work with the trucking associations to address any needs in other communities on a case by case basis.
“What’s really important is that we just find a way for these professional drivers to access the things that they need conveniently and safely, so that they can make sure that those essential goods and services that we need are still being maintained," said Munden.
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