CBD Road Warriors

On Tuesday, January 7, the first senior staff meeting was held to discuss what 2020 held in store for us. Like every other business, COVID-19 was not on the agenda. Discussions about the upcoming busy season did not include the President and General Manager spending their days together loading CBD trucks with food for those in need and distributing throughout the city. However, as our world changed, these two found themselves in the middle of a new reality. Our GM jokingly started calling themselves CBD Road Warriors. Peter and Michael have been in the shop and on the road throughout this period and we’ve asked Michael to share a few thoughts and impressions on his experiences.

Random Notes from the Road

For the past 3 months, at least 5 days a week, a CBD truck rolls out of the warehouse in the morning and heads across the City to deliver meals to those in need. Usually it’s just Peter and I on the truck.

  • Monday morning, time to head to shop…Load the truck with the rolling carts of large boxes full of bagged meals…need 700 for City hall and 550 for Kensington. Hmmm, numbers don’t add up… Ok, lets shift this heavy 36 count box to that cart and that 24 count box over here…What the HECK are two over 60 guys doing lugging these boxes around???

  • So, what do we talk about all those hours in the truck? Family, the new puppies, dinner…Hey I made pork carnitas last night, Oh, I grilled pork chops. What sides…and on and on…What are you making tonight…HEY, remember, we’re foodies!

  • Waiting with my 16’ truck for the donated oranges to be loaded. Watching that shiny 45’ trailer driven by the Cobalt Blue gleaming Tractor come into the food bank lot and backing into the loading dock. Really, truck envy at my age???

  • Headed back to the shop from picking up the pallet of oranges that were donated by SHARE. Odd, the pallets are usually wrapped. Headed down steep street, red light, stop, BOOM…Hmmm, now that I’ve stopped shaking, I guess the pallet went over in back of the truck.

  • What’s Peter’s idea of funny…me on my hands and knees on the floor of the truck picking up loose oranges. Peter helping by throwing loose oranges at me from the back of the truck…

  • A new day, back from deliveries, unload the racks for the next day’s delivery…Ahh, the supply order came (never guaranteed). Wow, there REALLY are 122 cases of water on that pallet to hand unload in the garage and haul up onto the warehouse dock…No problem…met my step goal today on Fitbit…

  • First delivery to Kensington. Silence in the truck. You read about it, hear about it, listen to reports on NPR about it, but not until you drive down Kensington Avenue does the impact of the opioid crisis really hit home. Profound respect for all the folks working on the front lines trying to relieve the suffering. Happy to be doing our small part.

  • Monday, back at the shop from deliveries, sales staff packaging meals, tired eyes looking at us over the masks, got the 1250 bowls made, 950 sandwiches done, only 300 more sandwiches to go! Then bag and box them for the next day! And then repeat. So PROUD and HUMBLED to know and work with these people…

  • New Project Home stop in Chinatown this week. We parked, meals delivered, too early for next stop. Well… there is that Chinese market right down the block…2 kids in a candy store…20 minutes later back on the road… Oysters, Chinese leeks, Shitake mushrooms – both fresh & dried, strange leafy greens tinged with brilliant red, AND got that hot Chili oil I was looking for…

  • Wednesday…We’re standing in the loading dock parking lot of a hospital, delivering meals for staff… Noticing a temporary sign “Funeral Director Parking Only” next to a refrigerated trailer… A shared look…Silence…

  • Friday…Project Home deliveries, smiling faces thanking me as they take the meals in…EVERY time telling me to be safe out there…

  • It’s a Tuesday, a small tight crew of kitchen management in to cook hundreds of pounds of chicken, vegetables and pasta. AND don’t forget the 1,250 cookies that need to get baked!!! That’s what everyone really wants! Executive Chef is in the Dish pit washing pots, pans, utensils, power washing racks that come back from the deliveries and on and on… So PROUD and HUMBLED to know and work with these people…

  • That priceless look of horror when I tell my kids over dinner that now that I’m driving trucks, only Country Western music is playing… my new favorite song is “God’s Country” by Blake Shelton…

  • Friday, Project Home deliveries by myself in the rain. Hopping up butt first to get on lift gate only to discover that results in a WET butt…well…at least I met that step goal again today…

  • Driving the 10ft Tall BOX truck over the I-95 bridge to truck repair shop by airport…reaching top of bridge as an intense rain and hail storm hits with 30+ wind gusts. “EXCITING” is just too tame and not profane enough a description of white-knuckle gripping the wheel as I pass over the top and head down the other side…wind still BLOWING…

  • Days blend together…Appreciation for my co-worker who scored an extra bottle of hand sanitizer and gave it to us to keep on the truck…

  • Laughing as Peter rolls his butt up onto the lift gate…National Geographic moment… the walrus rolling over on the beach. He’s just happy I said walrus and not whale…

  • What’s for dinner tonight, hamburgers, yeah, me too…

  • Thursday and rolling to our drop area in Kensington. See a former colleague on the street looking terribly gaunt. Recalling our many attempts at interventions. We were so hopeful for a while. Gut wrenching.

  • Friday afternoon…Driving back from picking up new load of boxes from distributor…” God’s Country” comes on the radio! Have to remember to tells the kids tonight…

  • REALLY? “red lights mean something else in Philadelphia” as the car turns sharply in front of the truck? Driving during this pandemic is substantially different; people driving much faster with less regard for what I thought were fairly universal rules. Now only suggestions.

  • Sheer AWE and RESPECT for that Prevention Point contact person in Kensington EVERY day. What’s in your red fanny pack… “oh, I give out masks and gloves to people who need them, bandages, and I have Narcan to administer when someone OD’s” …” There was this girl on the sidewalk last night…”

  • Quiet respect for my co-worker who volunteers at Prevention Point in Kensington on her days off after a tragic loss of a family member …

  • Monday again, time to saddle up and get on the road…Hey, if you see a CBD truck on the road, honk and give us a wave, we’re out there for those who need us…

    See you on the road…Michael