Former U-Haul Truck used to Help the Homeless in Tulsa

Feb 26, 2019

U-Haul trucks assist a lot of people in their time as Company vehicles.

One former U-Haul truck in Tulsa, Okla., continues to assist hundreds more people long after its days of helping self-movers ended.

Paul Schmidt, pastor for Street Church Tulsa, bought an affordable used moving truck via the U-Haul Truck Sales department. He is using it to serve the homeless through his organization, Share A Meal.

“This truck allows us to connect with the homeless in areas outside of downtown Tulsa,” Schmidt says.

“We’ve made modifications to this truck, which allow us to give them something to eat. We built a closet that stores clothes that we can give to them. We even created a climate-controlled office with a computer where we can bring them inside and help them get the social services they need.”

Right truck, right price

Schmidt wants to help more people and had been seeking a feasible way to do it. After talking to a friend in Texas who purchased a U-Haul truck and converted it into a food truck, he went to U-Haul Moving and Storage at South Campbell in Springfield, Mo.

“We looked at several different trucks. However, we kept getting drawn back to U-Haul,” Schmidt says. “The truck we purchased was in great condition, we were able to get all its service records and the tires were in great condition. The price was great, too.”

The transformed truck includes a refrigerated section for food and cold drinks that are available to those in need.

U-Haul general manager Jacob Barnts assisted with the purchase and was pleased to see what’s become of the truck.

“When he shared what his plan was, I couldn’t visualize it,” Barnts says. “After he purchased the truck and made the changes to it, he sent me a message on Facebook and shared pictures. I think it’s cool!”

Big plans for the future

Schmidt now has a budget-friendly and well-maintained vehicle as one of his main tools in the fight against homelessness in Tulsa.

Whether you’re an individual, a small business or a nonprofit organization, if you’re in the market for a truck, Schmidt recommends giving a look to U-Haul Truck Sales.

The cargo area now acts as a climate-controlled office where volunteers can help people get the social services they need.

“Obviously, this truck fit perfectly,” Schmidt says. “It works well. This one, in particular, is the perfect size for what I need it for. For instance, I wanted my wife or anyone else who drove it to feel comfortable doing so. This truck feels like driving a van.”

Schmidt doesn’t plan to stop here. He has showcased the truck to other pastors in the Tulsa area who wish to replicate what he has done. After that, he is also hoping to purchase more U-Haul trucks and create a small fleet of mobile outreach shelters.

“It was an ideal fit,” he says. “My goal is to have as many as 12 of these around town helping those in need.”

Practical solution

U-Haul Fleet Sales manager Priscilla Aguirre explains that the U-Haul Truck Sales program is an smart alternative to sending a truck to the scrapyard after it has fulfilled its purpose with the Company.

“The people or organizations who purchase these trucks give them a second life and repurpose them in many ways,” Aguirre says. “It’s an easy buying process that both U-Haul stores and dealerships participate in. In addition, you know you’re getting a vehicle that has been well-maintained when you buy a U-Haul truck.”

Want to see more examples of how our trucks have been repurposed after being sold to the public? Check out “U-Haul Truck Sales: More than Meets the Eye” part 1 and part 2.

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