Georgia trucking association activates Convoy of Care to help victims of Metro Atlanta tornado

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Hurricane Harvey Relief Team
In this 2017 photo, volunteers with Convoy of Care provide assistance to victims of Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in Texas and Louisiana. (Courtesy: Georgia Motor Trucking Association, via Facebook)

ATLANTA — In response to severe weather and tornadoes that ravaged Coweta and Polk counties in Georgia’s Metro Atlanta area March 25-26, The Georgia Motor Trucking Association (GMTA) has activated the Convoy of Care to assist families affected by the destruction.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado that struck the town of Newnan in Coweta County was rated as an EF4, causing damage “consistent with winds up to 170 mph.”

Through partnerships with local law enforcement, the media, the trucking and logistics industry, and others, Convoy of Care works to provide disaster relief throughout the Southeast. GMTA has been part of Convoy of Care since 2016.

“This (disaster) hit close to home. Oftentimes we’re traveling to a different state, or a different part of this state, but this one is literally in our backyard,” said Emily Crane, GMTA’s vice president of safety and education. “In the Newnan area, which was really hit (hard), there are neighborhoods that are just gone. There are homes gone. The area was just destroyed.”

GMTA is asking for assistance from the trucking and logistics industry, as well as private citizens. In addition to toiletries, nonperishable food and cleaning supplies, yard tools (preferably new) are needed to help area residents and volunteers sift through the debris.

Convoy of Care partners have been on the ground in the storm-stricken areas this week, evaluating how best to meet the needs of the communities.

“That’s when we heard that yard tools were needed,” Crane said, adding that she heard the following story from some responders in Newnan.

“There was a gentleman there, walking in his yard, searching through what was (left of) his house, with one shoe in his hand. They asked, ‘What are you doing?’ and he said, ‘I’m looking for another shoe for my daughter, so she’ll have a pair of matching shoes,’” Crane shared. “That’s an earth-shattering position to be in; searching through what was his home, looking for a shoe so his daughter could wear a pair of shoes.”

To help transport the volume of donations expected, GMTA is requesting the use of forklifts, tractors and trailers, drivers, gaylord boxes (large, industrial-strength cardboard crates) and other supplies.

“Right now, we seem to have most of the driver situation covered, but we never know what the response is going to be until the day of,” Crane said. “Our biggest need right now is forklifts when we go to Newnan, and then our main need is gaylord boxes.”

Anyone wishing to donate the use of trailers, drivers and gaylord boxes this week should email Crane at [email protected].

Contactless drop-off will take place Thursday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Georgia State Stadium (old Turner Field), 755 Hank Aaron Drive SE, Atlanta; and
  • Woodstock First Baptist Church, 11905 State Highway 92, Woodstock (Gunnin Road and Trickum entrance).

To make a monetary donation to the Convoy of Care, click here.

“When disaster strikes, we’re so grateful for the fact that we’re able to rely on the trucking industry to do what they do every day, which is deliver everyday essential items to the people who need them the most,” Crane said. “We all rely on trucks to get us what we need.”

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Linda Garner-Bunch has been in publishing for more than 30 years. You name it, Linda has written about it. She has served as an editor for a group of national do-it-yourself publications and has coordinated the real estate section of Arkansas’ only statewide newspaper, in addition to working on a variety of niche publications ranging from bridal magazines to high-school sports previews and everything in between. She is also an experienced photographer and copy editor who enjoys telling the stories of the “Knights of the Highway,” as she calls our nation’s truck drivers.
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