For those on the road this Christmas who are unable to get home or spend time with loved ones, there’s now a social media community to reach out to over the holiday period.
Adopt a Truckie is a Facebook page run by Julie Duncan, that connects truckies with people offering hospitality and amenities.
Duncan said the ‘Adopt a Truckie’ concept came about during a chance conversation between her husband Ron Duncan and a former colleague Tom Navaro at Ross Transport in Port Kembla, NSW.
Following the discussion and a subsequent Facebook chat, Julie threw up the idea where drivers who travel on their own might have somewhere to visit over the holiday period.
“There were quite a few guys out there that we knew of that lived in their trucks,” said Duncan.
“You hear of fellas that don’t have a home to go to and spend a lot of the holidays on their own. So, after a bit of a conversation between Tom and I we came up with the idea of Adopt a Truckie.”
Once Tom had set up the Facebook page, Julie ran the administration side for a few years before the was page shut down for around 18-months.
“I was dealing with some online issues, but after some enquiries I decided to restart it again a few years ago.”
The process for ‘Adopt a Truckie’ is relatively informal in that Duncan effectively puts out a call for people to post in their area if they can host a truckie over the Christmas period.
“If there’s a driver on their own and camped nearby, we ask people if they can pick them up, offer a shower, laundry service or just have a feed or a few beers for Christmas,” said Duncan.
“People list what’s available at their place, but it’s also about letting the guys out there that we’re thinking of them.
“I know from a mental health side of things it’s a terrible time to be on your own.”
Intriguingly the Adopt a Truckie concept isn’t unique to Australia, with communities in Romania also hosting their own groups.
While Duncan doesn’t have any statistics on how many truckies take up the service, she does say that the page receives a lot of positive feedback.
“We get comments all the time saying it’s really great and they’re so appreciative that people think about them.”
Duncan also makes a point of reminding Facebook caravan groups to be mindful of truckies over the Christmas period.
“I just remind them if they see a truckie to just say hi and see how they’re going and offer them a cuppa.”
The Adopt a Truckie Facebook page can be found here.