Last month, TJ retired as the food bank’s Logistics Manager after being in the position for 10 years. Before that, he was a truck driver for four years, drawn in by the food bank’s Mobile Pantry program. He loved the idea of giving food directly to those who need it.
He remembers well how neighbors would come up to him, give him a hug, and say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you — I wasn’t going to eat today if it wasn’t for this.”
As Logistics Manger, TJ ensured trucks and drivers were in the right places at the right time — a large task. When he started at the food bank, the fleet consisted of just two straight trucks and a handful of smaller pop bottle trucks. Under TJ’s guidance, we grew our fleet to around 30 trucks and started organizing truck routes online, instead of on a whiteboard.
Today, the food bank provides 100+ Mobile Pantries a month to communities in need. On top of these, depot deliveries and retail pick ups, the trucks need constant maintenance, but TJ and his logistics team were up for the challenge. He certainly has earned his place in this series!
TJ didn’t expect to retire in a truck-related job — he actually went to school to become a pastor — but says this is a “satisfying” way to end his career. Having grown up among neighbors in need in the U.P., for TJ, it’s always been about the mission.
“Everyone gets hungry. At 5 o clock today, I’ll want something to eat. But I know where I’m going to get it. I think that’s what we’re fighting for: Food security. Everyone able to find food when they need it.”