Long-haul trucker Shelli Conaway has logged over 3 million miles in her nearly 30-year trucking career and also coordinates disaster relief efforts from the cab of her truck.
Conaway of Lexington, Kentucky, runs a nonprofit group called Trucks with Room to Spare. Her group delivers critical supplies, including tarps, food and ice, to those hardest hit by natural disasters in the U.S.
Right now, she is coordinating relief efforts to survivors of the wildfires that have devastated communities along the West Coast, as well as organizing aid to those impacted by Hurricanes Laura and Sally.
“It is chaotic at times, but I have some volunteers that are willing to help with social media to make sure we respond to the messages while I am on the road,” Conaway said.
Her company, D & C Transportation of Louisa, Kentucky, has been extremely supportive of her relief efforts.
“I recently went down and spent five days in Louisiana delivering supplies,” she said. “The owner only asked that I take care of the fuel.”
Donations have been sparse, partly because 13.6 million Americans that are still unemployed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some motor carriers, including flatbed companies that were hard-hit by COVID-19, said they simply can’t afford to donate a driver, truck and trailer right now to deliver critical supplies.
“I find that truckers are generous and tend to step up in times of crisis,” Conaway told FreightWaves. “However, I understand that some just can’t give right now.”
Some truck drivers that are donating their time and equipment to deliver disaster supplies need help covering their fuel costs.
While Conaway said she hates asking for donations from the public to help cover fuel expenses, funds are badly needed.
Without donations, Conaway said she digs into her own pocket to pay fuel costs for truck drivers willing to pick