Fleets have banded together to bring aid to victims of Hurricane Laura since it first hit land at the end of August.
“Truckers have moved millions of meals, water, tarps, plastic sheeting, generators, fuel, and other items in support of response operations to both Texas and Louisiana,” said a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson. “They have operated day and night to keep critical commodities flowing into the states.”
Louisiana, which suffered the worst damage, has been the focus of trucking companies transporting much-needed emergency supplies.
“I have family and friends who live in the west and southwest side of the state–the Lake Charles area and the DeRidder area,” said Frisard’s Trucking Co. Inc. chief operating officer, Cully Frisard. “Of course, we have drivers that live out in those areas as well that were impacted by the storm. It really did catastrophic damage.”
Frisard, based in Gramercy, Louisiana, began organizing a donation drive, but quickly realized there was much more work to do.
“I was out there, and a bunch of other family members were out there helping,” said Frisard. “I said, ‘We have to do more than this. This is not going to be enough.’ We turned around and partnered with the United Cajun Navy in Baton Rouge. We have since delivered a total of 10 loads.”
Back in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Frisard allocated seven of its trucks to help victims in the area along with the volunteer-based United Cajun Navy. For Hurricane Laura aid, Frisard noted any supplies that are donated should be sent directly to the United Cajun Navy. Frisard is also working with sheriff’s departments around the affected areas to find out what areas of relief need the most support.
“We have been hauling everything that has to do with relief,” said Frisard. “First-aid kits, water, nonperishable food items, tarps, and baby items such as formula, diapers, wipes, and hygiene items for men and women.”
Van Buren, Arkansas-based USA Truck has also been working with relief efforts and is hoping to be of the most help possible during this time.
“We’re teaming up with the United Way to provide a spot for donations,” said USA Truck assistant general counsel, Edwin Anglin. “We’re providing the drop-off location and then we’re providing transportation.”
USA Truck also set up donation collection locations in Fort Smith, Arkansas and in southwest Louisiana.
“Basically, what we’ve been hearing is that they need bottled water, Gatorade, sunscreen, cleaning materials,” said Anglin, also adding that first-aid kits, bug spray, and building materials were of high importance as well.
Anglin, who created United Way to jumpstart Hurricane Laura Relief efforts, said USA Truck is still accepting donations and began transporting supplies to affected areas the week of September 14th.
UPS Inc. has also been transporting supplies for multiple hurricane relief groups, and recently sent two truckloads of supplies to Louisiana for the American Red Cross. UPS’ fleet has also been helping The Salvation Army, ToolBank, and Good360, and has also collaborated with Coca Cola and Coyote Logistics for these efforts, as well.
“The UPS Foundation has moved 20 truckloads of relief materials to impacted areas near the Gulf Coast to help relief and recovery efforts,” said a UPS spokesperson. “Additionally, The UPS Foundation has provided $50,000 in grants for Hurricane Laura response and recovery efforts.”
UPS explained that two recent shipments held 606 rakes, 600 shovels, 600 tarps, 600 trash bags, 600 dust makes, 600 work gloves, 600 flashlights, 595 bottles of hand sanitizer, 584 storage totes, 576 clean-up kits, and 25 signs.
U.S. Xpress Enterprises has also been working with other organizations to get emergency supplies where they’re needed most, as quickly as possible.
“We’ve been working closely with our core strategic partners within our customer base to handle shipments of water, generators, batteries, and other essential relief items across a range of industries,” said U.S. Xpress chief revenue officer, Justin Harness. “With our dedicated accounts, we’re keeping essential shipments moving, helping to ensure shelves are stocked and businesses and families have the goods they need.”
Additionally, Bengal Transportation Services has been transporting food to the Lake Charles areas and has even held a cookout to feed relief workers, first responders, volunteers, and locals.
“We took several trucks from our own fleet to bring all of the supplies that we needed to cook that day, as well as other supplies,” said marketing manager for Bengal, Ashley Baham. “We had a refrigerated truck that housed the ice and chickens that is still down there. And we’re about to start a donation drive here.”