GTATurkey Drive volunteers on a short break. Photo: Jennifer Evans
(Updated October 11, 2021) After two crazy-busy days and 500 turkey deliveries, Beck driver Mohsen Holway made it home to his own family with a fresh turkey and a giant “thank you” from turkey drive volunteers.
“Mohsen was amazing!” GTA TurkeyDrive organizer Jennifer Evans told Taxi News. “And not just the fact that he physically loaded and unloaded 500 turkeys over two longs days. He was very creative, directing some of the other volunteers, getting the turkeys loaded and working around problems. He was incredible.”
“It was insanely busy,” laughed Holway when Taxi News reached him on October 11. “Saturday was raining and people needed to get everywhere….there wasn’t a break, ever. Today, I have that turkey in the oven and I am hoping to rake the leaves and mow the lawn.”
Holway, who has been driving for Beck for 25 years, says his favourite part of the job is serving accessible clients who “need extra help to get where they have to go. It’s not right to say they are disabled, but they definitely face extra challenges to get things done, and the best part of this job is that I can help them with those challenges.”
He is concerned about Toronto’s Accessible Taxi program, which has not helped drivers keep their vans on the road: “With gas at $1.45 a litre, my friends are parking their Accessible vehicles because they can’t afford to keep them running. What will their clients do? We can’t say ‘We can’t afford to drive you to the grocery store, you’ll have to walk.’ That is not an option.” (The Accessible Taxi issue is scheduled to be addressed by the Licensing & Standards report to committee in November.)
Jennifer Evans is a Toronto shelter volunteer who has worked with Paramount Foods founder and CEO Mohamad Fakih over seven “turkey events” since 2017.
“Paramount gets the turkeys from one of its suppliers,” Evans explains “and we drop them off to four different shelters in time for Thanksgiving.
“This year, I contacted Kristine Hubbard at Beck Taxi to ask if they could help with delivery. Kristine said, ‘I know exactly the driver you need,’ and she connected us to Mohsen.”
Beck donated to the Turkey Drive, as well as discounting the two day cost of booking Mohsen to deliver both fresh and frozen turkeys to the Good Shepard shelter; Seeds of Hope; Freedom City; and the West Lodge Food Bank.
“We did all of our fundraising to buy the turkeys on Twitter this year, and it was great,” Evans says, “which really mattered, because the cost of purchasing the turkeys almost doubled this year. A turkey that cost $28 last year, cost $50 this year. Shelters that might have been OK for supply last year were flat out this year, and EVERYBODY needed turkeys.”