With the holiday season at our doors, Meals for 18 wheels has been busy gearing up for the rush. Meals for 18 Wheels, an organization that serves hot meals to truck drivers in need, is preparing for its fourth holiday season. Crystal Schoonmaker, who started Meals for 18 Wheels, said the organization served 395 home-cooked meals to truck drivers last Thanksgiving and anticipates similar numbers this year.
Schoonmaker is well aware of the sacrifices drivers make as her husband, father, aunt, two uncles and brother have all been trucker drivers. “If a driver finds themselves stranded because they’re broke down or they don’t have access to food where they’re at or they have a financial setback, they can message the page and we will access our volunteers that we already have information for in the drivers’ area and we’ll make contact with them and exchange information so the drivers can get fed that day,” Schoonmaker said. “If not, we’ll put a post on our Facebook page and hopefully someone will come through.” The group consists of 1,500 volunteers across the United States.
“We’re setting aside Thanksgiving and the Friday (Nov. 24-25) for the holiday sharing, “Schoonmaker said. “For the rest of the weekend, we’re going to play that by ear. If something arises during the weekend, we’ll definitely be available to try and get a driver a home-cooked meal.”
While Thanksgiving and Christmas are the group’s busiest times of the year, Meals for 18 Wheels is a year-round operation. The group typically provides meals to several drivers each week.
“The past year has been busy,” she said. “At the beginning of the year, we were really busy. We were getting drivers that needed help almost every day. Recently, it’s slowed down a bunch. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m leaning toward that it’s a good thing.
“We’re thankful that there may be less of a need, but some new drivers might not know we’re here. Hopefully, we can get the word out to everyone. We definitely want everyone to know that we’re still here, we’re still active, and we’re still doing this.”
Drivers in need of a meal can contact Meals for 18 Wheels on its Facebook page or by emailing MealsFor18Wheels@gmail.com. Individuals who’d like to volunteer can apply here. The group is thin on volunteers in Nebraska, Kansas, Washington and Nevada.
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