Santa Claus made a stop at Forgotten Harvest this week in a very special sleigh – a new 2016 Freightliner (Class 6) refrigerated truck from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
That truck will help the food rescue organization get much needed fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products and more to the hungry in metro Detroit. Forgotten Harvest rescued 41 million pounds of food last year. The need is great. One in five people, nearly 672,000 people, still face hunger and poverty in metro Detroit.
“Just like Santa could not deliver gifts without his trusty sleigh, Forgotten Harvest cannot realize its mission of delivering fresh food to the hungry in our local community without a reliable fleet,” said Chris Trainor, senior manager of controlling at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and a longtime Forgotten Harvest volunteer.
This is the sixth vehicle Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has sponsored for Forgotten Harvest since 2007.
Forgotten Harvest’s wish this year was to be able to replace two of its older refrigerated box trucks with clean-burning diesel trucks that would reduce air pollution as well as help the organization rescue more food.
A grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) awarded to Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV) helped underwrite the cost of the new refrigerated replacement truck.
In addition to the truck, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services also made a special donation to help Forgotten Harvest provide an additional 5,000 holiday meals for local families in need.
“Thanks to Mercedes-Benz Financial Services’ long-standing commitment, combined with the MDEQ and SDEV partnership, the holidays will be so much brighter for many families in Southeast Michigan who might otherwise not have enough to eat,” says Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mays.
As part of a collaboration to help address air pollution from diesel engines, the State of Michigan MDEQ awarded a “Clean Diesel” grant to SDEV’s Clean Diesel Program earlier this year to improve air quality by reducing diesel emissions. This grant partially funded improvements to replace two older refrigerated box trucks in Forgotten Harvest’s fleet.
MDEQ’s financial support required at least a 75 percent funding match, leading to a broader collaboration to meet the program’s clean air goals. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services provided the matching funds to replace one of Forgotten Harvest’s refrigerated box trucks. The new trucks for Forgotten Harvest’s fleet will replace trucks operating primarily in Detroit and in Western Wayne County. The diesel equipment on the new replacement trucks will meet or exceed the current highest EPA emissions standards.
Christmas is a time when wishes do come true and a time to spread great joy to as many people as possible. This truck certainly accomplishes both.