A Lachine food bank is asking the public for help after the truck it uses to pick up donations lost both of its right rear wheels on westbound Highway 40 just before the exit for southbound Highway 15.
No one was hurt in the Jan. 8 incident but, since then, the Extended Hands Foodbank/Organisation caritative mains tendues has been struggling to keep its operation running. It has been making do with borrowed vehicles, including a van belonging to Resurrection Centre, the Lachine church on St. Antoine St. where the food bank is located in the basement.
On Monday, Tara Lee Gooding, the foodbank’s co-ordinator, said the food bank needs a used vehicle of its own so that it can continue to carry out its mission — providing about 100 food baskets that feed between 300 and 500 people each week.
“No truck means no food, which, in turn, means no food bank,” Gooding said.
She said the ideal vehicle would be an 18-foot cube van with a rear door at ramp level so volunteers can easily load up the fresh fruit and vegetables and non-perishable donations it receives each week from Moisson Montreal, the Salvation Army and its biggest supporter, Gaétan Bono Fruits et Légumes Inc. at Montreal’s Marché Centrale.
The Jan. 8 incident cost the food bank $1,250 in towing, Gooding said, noting fortunately that bill was paid by a private donor.
The only good thing about the incident was that it happened during the afternoon rush hour when traffic was moving at a snail’s pace and everyone was able to stop, said Evon Smith, a food bank co-ordinator and the trucker driver that day.
“There had been some cracking and buckling noises and then, I just heard a big crack,” Smith said. “By the grace of God no one was hurt.”
He said it shook him up: “Only when I called for help, I realized my hands were shaking.”
As for the old truck — a 1998 model with more than 300,000 kilometres on it — it will be scrapped, Gooding said.
Two weeks earlier, its radiator had burst in the parking lot of Moisson Montréal in St-Laurent, and it had to be towed back to Lachine that time, too.