Touching Lives with Touch a Truck

Michelle Sens
Officer Danny Flynn Jr. shows Logan how to ride a motorcycle at Touch a Truck.

 

Shattering attendance and fundraising goals while exposing children to service men and women across the community, the Junior League of New Orleans' 6th annual Touch a Truck was a revved-up success. At this hands-on event children were able to get up close and into construction and emergency vehicles as well as ask questions of people who serve and grow Metropolitan New Orleans.

Approximately 2,400 people attended Touch a Truck over two days – its highest attendance to date. The extension from one day (Saturday) to two days, allowed for its first ever Field Trip Friday during which 500 school children from three of JLNO’s partner schools – Educare New Orleans, Lafayette Academy and Mildred Osborne Charter School – attended Touch a Truck free of charge. Field Trip Friday was made possible through various community sponsors and allowed children from pre-kindergarden up through second grade to enjoy the event.

Additionally, the venue was relocated this year to the Pontchartrain Center and was held indoors. With no worry about the forecast, families were able to plan ahead, and pre-sale tickets were at an all-time high. Yet the event has grown in more than just attendance: “We exceeded goals for participation, sponsorship and vendors,” said JLNO Ways & Means Council Director Skye Fantaci. Over the two-day event, approximately $45,000 was raised.

This financial impact will provide multiple benefits to the New Orleans area: first, by providing JLNO with funds to support community projects, and secondly allowing JLNO to strength bonds and ties across New Orleans. “It is awesome to see the men and women who work in our community interacting with children on such an intimate level,” said Touch a Truck Co-Chair Emily Lewis. Emily said it was touching to see the personnel who were volunteering lifting children into trucks, explaining how things worked and watching EMTs showing kids how to strap into a gurney.

Touch a Truck Co-Chair Nicole Patel said sponsors and vendors expressed how “the atmosphere of engaging people from the community was rewarding.” While Touch a Truck was created as an event to engage children with those building and serving our community, it has helped to connect our city’s workforce with the children as well.

 

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