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Lee Benson, Deseret News
Josh England, president of C.R. England Trucking, poses next to the "One" logo denoting the company's policy of donating one meal to a hungry kid every time an England truck delivers a load.

SALT LAKE CITY — A little over a year ago, Chad, Josh, Zach and TJ England, the four brothers who run the Utah trucking company their great-grandfather C.R. England started way back in 1920, got together in a room to brainstorm.

Their topic: giving back better.

For years, like a lot of successful companies, C.R. England — which grew from one truck in 1920 to nearly 5,000 in 2018, becoming the largest refrigerated carrier in the United States in the process — had shared a portion of its success with a variety of causes, writing out checks to this charity and that.

Lee Benson, Deseret News
Josh England, president of C.R. England Trucking, points to a counter keeping track of meals provided to hungry kids. As of Oct. 21 the company had surpassed 1 million meals in 2018.

But they felt, as Josh England says, “like we were an inch deep and a mile wide.”

Instead of a lot of little differences, they wanted to make one big difference.

As the brothers batted around ideas, each one articulated his pet cause.

Come to find out, they all had the same one:

Feeding hungry kids.

• • •

It dated back to when they were kids themselves, to a time when their father, Dan, and his brothers Dean, Todd and Corey were running the company and they began volunteering alongside other C.R. England employees at the Utah Food Bank, sorting donations, delivering food boxes, seeing firsthand the enormous amount of food that goes into the bank — and goes out — every single day.

Thirteen million children go hungry on a regular basis in America, 1 out of every 6.

The brothers England knew this, and they knew they had their big deal. Now they needed to implement it.

Their game plan was this: Every time one of their trucks delivered a load they would feed a child a meal.

They called it the One Initiative: One load = one meal.

They contacted food banks across the country to ensure that every dollar they sent would be earmarked 100 percent to feed kids.

Then they empowered their truck drivers to designate which of the food banks — 20 of them in the United States and one in Mexico — would get the meal after they’d delivered their load.

What are we talking here? Well, C.R. England trucks deliver on average some 3,000 loads a day. That works out to two loads landing on a dock somewhere in North America every minute.

So that’s one hungry kid fed every 30 seconds.

• • •

On Jan. 1, C.R. England’s trucks began to roll out the campaign. Each truck received a “One: One Load Feeds One Child” logo emblazened on the cab behind the driver's side door and the passenger side door. Two new trucks had the logo painted on the side of the trailer: bright red rolling billboards crisscrossing America.

The goal for 2018: 1 million meals for hungry kids.

They set up a scoreboard on their website: crengland.com. There, a display in the form of a dashboard odometer keeps up-to-the-second track of how many loads and how many meals.

By June they’d passed the half-million threshold.

Then, like a fire feeding on itself, the pace picked up.

On Sunday, they rolled past the 1 million mark, more than two months ahead of schedule.

To celebrate, and to drum up even more support, the company is throwing a "Million to One" party for its employees and guests this Saturday at — where else? — the Utah Food Bank (3150 S. 900 West in Salt Lake City). There will be a 5K fun run, breakfast, crafts, games and food bank volunteer slots available at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Josh, Zach and TJ – the company’s fourth generation caretakers – will be on hand, as will their father Dan and his brothers, Dean and Todd England, from generation three. Representing the second generation and leading the parade will be Gene England, who will turn 99 this week and is going strong as ever.

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Gene was just two years old when his father, Chester Rodney “C.R.” England, started hauling produce in his Model T truck from his home in the farming community of Plain City near Ogden. After World War II, Gene and his brother Bill returned from the war to help their dad turn a one-truck operation into the 25th largest trucking firm in North America. In 2018 C.R. England’s 5,000 trucks will deliver some twenty billion pounds of food.

And more than one million kids meals.

Correction: A pervious version stated Saturday's "Million to One"€ party at the Utah Food Bank is open to the public. It is only open to C.R. England employees and invited guests.