The Trucks With Room to Spare group is hosting what organizers are calling a truck-a-thon, specifically the Miles That Matter Truck-a-Thon, aimed at raising money for the group in a way that directly involves not only a donor base but also the contributing truckers who underlay the organization's mission.
As regular Channel 19 readers may recall, the group was founded in 2018 in the wake of Hurricane Michael with the hopes of marshaling unused trailer capacity to deliver relief to stricken areas in the region around landfall. I wrote about TWRS in the wake of widespread Midwest flooding the following year, during which owner-operators Lee and Lisa Schmitt delivered a load of hay to the region as part of TWRS's efforts.
A tip of the hat to the Schmitts again for alerting me to the Miles That Matter effort, which they're participating in as it runs beginning tomorrow all the way through June 4 -- truckers can register to participate (with a $20 donation) via this link, and here's how it's intended to work.
As TWRS founder Shelli Conaway noted, the idea from the beginning was inspired by old-school bike-a-thons where participants log their ridden miles over a specific time period and collect sponsors who agree to donate a certain amount, on a per-mile or lump-sum basis, inspiring the biker to go, go, go. ... In this case, Conaway hoped it would be a way for truckers to contribute to TWRS's efforts to handle fuel and other costs when it's able to arrange relief loads by simply doing what they do -- running miles.
As Conaway described it -- "collect sponsors and run your route," simply put, documenting the number of miles run throughout the week. At the end of the week, sponsors' pledges made on a per-mile basis are calculated and can be collected.
The Schmitts were as of today one of several truckers -- others include Joseph Campo, Maura Miller, Colleen Goodrich -- participating this time around, the first time Conaway, a working hauler herself, and company have put on the program. It all came together quickly, not leaving much time for marketing it. If the concept proves out this year, though -- and the Schmitts I know have had some success garnering sponsors for their week of hauling, starting tomorrow -- Conaway says it won't take much encouragement to turn it into annual event.
A sure bit of fun, with a little friendly competition -- benefiting an organization with a certainly meaningful mission.