BUFFALO, N.Y.- Record snowfalls in Buffalo earlier this month meant people were trapped indoors, schools were closed and driving was nearly impossible and outright dangerous in most cases.
Many truck drivers got caught in the blizzard and some became stranded. In the cold, without food. But now, stranded truckers in Canada and the U.S. can appeal to Meals for 18 Wheels for help.
Moments after the travel ban was lifted from the N.Y. area, Meals for 18 Wheels, an organization that works with volunteers covering 48 States and Canada to bring hot meals to drivers, had the first offer for help:
” Anyone stuck or have loved ones stuck in Buffalo NY? We live here and just had the travel ban lifted. If anyone needs anything please let me know so we can help!!!” one of the organization’s volunteers posted on the Facebook page, which is how the organization connects with drivers and volunteers.
One truck driver from Prince Edward Island, Ben Graham, who got stuck in upstate New York described the situation to the CBC:
“If you were outside and outstretched your arm, you wouldn’t have been able to see your hand in front of you. That’s how intense it was. Not great for driving a large commercial vehicle let alone a car, or anything really.”
Crystal Schoonmaker, a trucker’s wife from Tennessee, founded Meals for 18 Wheels in 2013. Originally, she wanted to help drivers who couldn’t make it home for the holiday.
Before Thanksgiving, she cooked up food and delivered it to truckers on the road who shared their locations with her. Information was exchanged via Facebook. It was meant as an appreciation gesture to the drivers and with the help of dedicated volunteers, it went better than expected. In just 23 hours, she delivered 31 meals.
So she decided to do the same thing over Christmas. And although the organization had only been around for a month, between Dec. 23 and 26 2013, Meals for 18 Wheels served over 200 meals.
Today, they have close to 9,500 likes on Facebook and help truck drivers year-round, whether that’s a home-made holiday meal or helping drivers who find themselves in unforeseen circumstances such as being broken down, snowed in, stuck at a terminal without access to food, you name it.
One U.S. driver posted on Meals for 18 Wheels Facebook page on Nov. 27, 2014: “A wonderful driver named Rob just brought us turkey dinners to Southbend IN!!! Thank you Suzan and Eddie!!! This is beyond amazing. I’m choked up.”