Touch-A-Truck Events: Provide Ways To Engage With Community

Two or three times a year for more than five years, Ciardelli Fuel Co. (Milford, N.H.) has parked one of its bobtails alongside work trucks from as many as 30 other companies and allowed children and parents to climb into the bobtail and see how it works. At these Touch-A-Truck and similar events, the bobtail was accompanied by two of the company’s crew members, who pointed out the different parts of the bobtail and explained what they do.
Touch-A-Propane-Delivery-Truck event branded to support breast cancer awareness and other community nonprofit orgs reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news and infor since 1939. Oct 2019
As this was written, Ciardelli Fuel Co. had just been at two Touch-A-Truck events in August and was preparing to participate in a similar event in September. That event, Wheels & Wings at the airport in Nashua, N.H., includes airplanes and helicopters in addition to trucks. The events the company attends typically include 15 to 30 vehicles representing different companies and organizations.

“The response from the community is always overwhelmingly positive, and we enjoy seeing our customers outside of the typical office environment,” Gabriel Bascom, marketing manager with Ciardelli Fuel Co., tells BPN.

Held by many different organizations, Touch-A-Truck and similar events allow children to climb into a variety of work trucks and other vehicles, ask questions, and sometimes even honk the horn. Many of these family events also offer other attractions such as music, raffles, face painting, bounce houses, and food vendors. They often benefit a charity. Among the companies displaying their work trucks at many of these happenings are propane marketers.

“Our community loves these events,” says Maribeth Girard, marketing assistant with Proulx Oil & Propane (Newmarket, N.H.).
Touch-A-Truck Propane companies host community events to raise funds for breast cancer other causes reports BPN the LPG industry's most trusted source for news since 1939. Oct 2019For the past six years, Proulx Oil & Propane has participated in the Annual Touch-A-Truck Fundraiser held by the Richie McFarland Children’s Center (RMCC; Stratham, N.H.), a nonprofit organization that helps young children, with and without special needs. Last year, at least 30 trucks were on display. As this was written, Proulx was getting set for RMCC’s 15th Annual Touch-A-Truck Fundraiser, Sept. 28 at Pease International Tradeport, Portsmouth, N.H.

“The turnout is always great, the kids love it, and the location at Pease Tradeport is great—big, open parking lots and plenty of visitor parking,” Girard says. “The Children’s Center does a great job of coordination, set-up, and traffic flow.”

“It is great for community awareness and branding,” she adds. “People see our truck at these events and see Proulx as a company who cares.”

Palmer Gas & Oil (Atkinson, N.H.) attended a Touch-A-Truck event held June 1 at the West Running Brook Middle School in Derry, N.H. The event was planned by the town of Derry with help from the Derry Fire Department, Derry Police Department, Dialed Action Sports, Kona Ice, the Knights of Columbus, and a number of other organizations. Many companies participated and there were more than 25 trucks on display.

“This was not Palmer Gas & Oil’s first Touch-A-Truck event; we enjoy displaying our well-maintained and clean vehicles,” says Sarah Berry, marketing and communications advisor with Palmer Gas & Oil. “We also enjoy hearing the community tell us that!”

At the June 1 event, Palmer Gas & Oil had a bobtail on display. Berry says, “Our truck had the loudest horn out of all the trucks on display!” Accompanying the bobtail were Gus and Jody Lockerman, husband and wife, who have been employed with Palmer Gas & Oil for more than 10 years. Gus is a fully licensed technician and a seasonal driver, and Jody is the company’s lead delivery dispatcher.
Touch-A-Propane-Delivery-Truck Blow Horn Event to raise funds for community needs and breast cancer awarenss reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news since 1939.Oct 2019
“We could not have found a better team to participate in this event,” Berry says. “Gus helped kids in and out of the truck’s driver’s seat and showed them how to pull the air horn, while Jody handed out small bags filled with fun treats for all the kids.”

Along with the treats, they also gave out small promotional items and a postcard that thanked everyone for attending the event and let them know Palmer Gas & Oil’s “Win Free Fuel for the Year” promotion had begun.

Palmer Gas & Oil’s most recent participation in a Touch-A-Truck event was neither its first nor its last. “We look forward to participating in future Touch-A-Truck events,” Berry says. “We strongly believe in local partnerships and giving back to the community.”

Proulx Oil & Propane took its pink propane truck to the most recent Touch-A-Truck event it attended. When the pink truck makes a propane delivery, Proulx donates a portion of the sale to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign.

“We let the kids climb aboard and check out under the hood, and we explained what the propane truck does,” Girard says. “Our display is filled with balloons, things for the kids, and just overall bright and cheery.”

For the kids, Proulx had industry-specific coloring books, crayons, and stickers on hand at the display. For parents, they had company information, brochures, and job applications.

The Proulx display was handled by customer service rep Mandee Anderson, who always volunteers for the event.

She says, “I’m really looking forward to participating in Touch-A-Truck for the sixth time. As an employee of Proulx, I love being a representative of our company’s values—the importance of participating in events that help our local community.

“It’s so much fun to see how much the kids love the ‘Pink Truck,’ and I really enjoy hearing the little girls talk about wanting to be fuel drivers when they get older. I also like seeing the same families come back each year and seeing how much the children have grown,” Anderson adds.

“We often bring goodies for the kids to pass out, like coloring books or balls, and we really make sure we say hello to each child that comes by. If anyone is considering participating in the event, I would highly recommend getting involved! All you need is a truck and a smile—although it doesn’t hurt to bring some goodies with you! And once you do it for the first time—you will find that you just can’t wait for it to come next year.”
Touch A Truck Propane Truck Event held by Ciardelli Fuel in NH supports breast cancer awarness month all year reports BPN the propane industry's trusted source for news and info since 1939. Oct 2019
When Ciardelli Fuel Co. attends Touch-A-Truck and similar events, it takes its pink bobtail, a Freightliner M2 106. For each gallon this pink Breast Cancer Awareness bobtail delivers, the company donates one cent in support of the American Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Over the years, we have learned that the best displays are the ones that have consistent branding, are clean and organized, and offer a variety of options and activities for children of all ages,” Bascom says. “At each event, we see plenty of teenagers in addition to young children!”

“We always have two people at our events—one person to hand out promotional materials and swag, and a delivery driver to help children get in and out of the truck and educate them about the bobtail itself,” Bascom adds. “The attendance at these events is typically too high for one person to manage both jobs on their own.”

The swag they hand out includes company-branded slap bracelets, baseballs, footballs, balloons, and temporary tattoos. “Our most popular swag item is probably our pink pens, which promote breast cancer awareness and match the color of our propane delivery vehicles,” Bascom says. They also hand out promotional flyers and business cards. At some of the larger events, they raffle off “Free 20# Propane Grill Tank Refills for Life.”

Also on hand at the events is the company’s mascot, a toy bird named Ciar-lee (CHAR-lee). This official Ciardelli Fuel Co. bird honors the company’s founders, Ernest “Babe” Ciardelli and Albert Eugene “Chick” Ciardelli. They became known as “The Birds to Call” for your home heating needs.

“Touch-A-Truck events are an excellent way to give back to the communities we call home, and they are also excellent marketing opportunities,” Bascom says. “Our customers are our neighbors!” — Steve Relyea