During the recent Truckload Carriers Association’s annual officer planning meeting, held Aug. 31-Sept. 2 in Detroit, TCA leaders tried something a little different: They took a break from their business meetings to package and shrinkwrap hundreds of boxes of food that later would be delivered to homebound seniors and other needy residents of Detroit.
TCA Chairman Kevin W. Burch, president of Jet Express Inc., of Dayton, Ohio, came up with the idea after Detroit was selected as the location for this year’s planning meeting – a three-day event that brings TCA officers and senior staff together to focus on planning the budget and future direction of the organization. Burch, who grew up in the Detroit area, was familiar with Focus: Hope, a nationally recognized Detroit-based civil and human rights organization that takes intelligent and practical action to fight racism, poverty and injustice.
Focus: Hope provides education and training, affordable child care, community arts programs and community development initiatives. It also utilizes scores of volunteers to pack and deliver boxes of nutritionally-balanced food to the nearly 10,000 low-income senior citizens who have no transportation or otherwise are unable to pick up food from Focus: Hope’s food centers.
Once Burch learned of the need for so many volunteers in the city that the TCA leaders would be visiting, he asked the TCA officers, spouses and staff to consider deviating from the traditional team-building exercise that is usually a standard part of the planning meeting agenda. Instead, he suggested that they volunteer for the food packaging program. “I could think of no better team-building exercise than working together for the good of the community in these tough economic times,” Burch says.