Cranbourne Food Truck calls for driver volunteers

A truck license is required to drive the Cranbourne Food Truck. Picture: Supplied

By Violet Li

Cranbourne Food Truck is facing the chance of reducing its service in the coming winter due to a shortage of volunteer drivers.

The food charity is crying out for volunteer drivers for its Monday and Wednesday night services at the Lyall St carpark.

“There are 10 driving shifts in July, and I can fill only five of them,” the food truck administrator Marie Magdziarz said.

“If we haven’t got a driver to drive the truck, we can’t do a food service.

“But we don’t want to reduce our service because even on a very quiet night for Monday or Wednesday, I think the minimum [attendant] might be 14. So you still get quite a few people. On a really busy night, we have 42 [attendants].

“We’re trying to come up with some solutions for July and August.”

Driver shortage had been the biggest issue for the community organisation as it determined the operation, chairperson of the Food Truck committee Chris Marsh said.

She said the truck would be closed on King’s Official Birthday because none of their drivers were available.

“We normally operate on public holidays regardless, because a lot of the other food services [in Casey] are shut on Monday,” she said.

“Some services don’t operate, for instance, in school holidays, so it’s important for us to still be able to serve our community, but we can’t do that without qualified drivers, so that’s our biggest issue.

“There’s always the issue of not having enough money to buy and to get supplies but I think we’re keeping our head afloat with regard to money and donations and all of that.

“But as I said, if we can’t get a driver to take the truck out, it doesn’t matter how much stock we’ve got or cooked.”

Ms Magdziarz said the problem that led to the situation was that many driver volunteers had been retired and it was the time of the year they went off on holidays to somewhere warmer.

“We also have the usual winter ailments. We’ve had people off sick, and people who used to do a couple of driving shifts move out of the area,” she said.

She also stressed that it was not an easy job to find someone already with a truck license.

“It’s not like they budget rent a car. You can’t do this one because our truck has got a double axle. So you actually need a truck license,” she said.

“The other thing is if you’re a brand-new driver, as we all know when you first learn to drive a car, it can be a bit scary and these catering trucks are quite heavy.

“We do get some inquiries, but so far over the last at least eight months, we’ve had one person that’s just about to start.”

Apart from an existing truck license, a mentality to engage with the food service was also required for driver volunteers, Ms Magdziarz said.

“They also need to be prepared to do more than just drive the truck,” she said.

“They have to be involved in the food too. The truck drivers often will make the teas and coffees and pack up food parcels.

“If there’s a lot of people there, they will also help with the actual food service, handing out the hot cups of tea and generally engaging the clients because often they need or want somebody to have a bit of a chat with.

“We are their company for that week. They might only engage with other people twice a week, and that’s when they go down to the truck and get a cup of tea or a meal.”

Anyone interested in helping can call the food truck on 0455 121 077. Two shifts are available on Monday and Wednesday nights. Each shift lasts for two hours from 6.15pm to 8.15pm.