Gulf Coast hurricane spells disaster for many food shippers.
DCs, Transport Are Key To Relief Efforts
Despite their own problems following the storm, food retailers and wholesalers across America have already pledged more than $20 million in financial support for Hurricane Katrina relief, according to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in Washington. They are also donating more than $10 million more in food, bottled water, ice, baby formula, dia
pers, paper towels, cleaning supplies, disinfectant and personal hygiene items, and are lending their own distribution centers, trucks, drivers, transportation executives and other employees to the relief effort.
In Mississippi alone, state emergency management officials estimate a need for at least 20 dry vans a day to deliver pre-sorted relief supplies from a staging warehouse in Jackson, MS, to affected areas throughout the state.
Minneapolis-based Supervalu has opened portions of its Supervalu distribution center in Indianola, MS, and a Sav-A-Lot distribution center in Hammond, LA, as staging areas to organize and deliver truckloads of food and supplies. Sav-A-Lot drivers have already delivered 10 truckloads of food and supplies to food banks in Baton Rouge, LA.
The Kroger Cos., Cincinnati, sent 20 of its refrigerated trailers to American Red Cross kitchens in Louisiana. The trucks were filled with bags of ice by distribution center workers in California, Colorado, Kentucky and Tennessee and are likely to remain in Louisiana through October.
In addition, Operation Silver Eagle, a group of independent truck drivers who volunteer their time and effort to move relief supplies to areas hit by disasters, is poised to bring a convoy of 25-30 truckloads of relief supplies from Northeast manufacturers to the Gulf Coast. This not-for-profit organization is run by Rich Ward, a retired driver for Wakefern Foods Corp., Elizabeth, NJ.
mong the donated items on board the trucks will be more than 13,000 cases of paper towels, napkins and toilet and facial tissues donated by Marcal Paper Mills, Elmwood Park, NJ. The convoy will carry about a million pounds of relief supplies to the Gulf Coast in late October or early November. The entire trip should take about four days, Ward expects. He is looking for drivers, trucks, trailers and donations of money, phone and gas cards, restaurant gift certificates and anything else that drivers might need along the way.
Each truck taking part in the Operation Silver Eagle convoy will have at least two drivers on board. Drivers interested in taking part in the convoy can contact Rich Ward at 973-835-4744, by fax at 973-962-9704, or by e-mail at email@example.com. The organization’s Web site is www.operationsilvereagle.org). —L.K.