For many months, Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry has been saving for a refrigerated truck in which to haul groceries from our regional food bank in Tampa to the Pantry in Wimauma.
“Thanks to the generosity of countless groups and individuals, we finally have our truck,” says Tom Bullaro, co-director of the Pantry.
According to Bullaro, a refrigerated truck is now a requirement both by Feeding Tampa Bay and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It certainly will be put to good use as the Pantry is transporting more and more fresh produce all the time.
“Interestingly, the used 2006 truck we just purchased has a 16-foot trailer -- same as our old 2006 truck. This truck, however, is constructed differently and is considerably heavier, so it can carry 16,000 pounds of food, instead of 2,500 pounds, as with our previous vehicle.”
Prior to heading out to the food bank on Tuesdays and Fridays, the refrigerated unit is turned on. It is 60 degrees by the time it gets to Tampa. By the time it returns to Wimauma, it is 40 degrees.
“After we unload the truck, we turn the unit off,” says Bullaro.
This diesel-engine truck was listed at $24,500. Bullaro purchased it for $22,000 from Land's Used Trucks; Plant City, Fl. He had cash in hand of $14,600 for this truck. These monies were received from 100 Women Who Care, The Couch Foundation and, importantly, donations from many individuals. The balance of these costs is expected shortly, from Publix Charities.
Both old and new trucks belong to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Migrant Mission. The Pantry's old truck, which was given to us by The Interfaith Council, remains serviceable except for not being refrigerated, and will also be used by the Thrift Shop.
“Now we can transport our fresh foods without having to worry about how hot it is outside,” says Bullaro.
“This truck is great for the Pantry. It gives all of our drivers some peace of mind that we can do a better job picking up food and keeping it fresh and cold for our clients to enjoy.
“As we always say, God provides.”