Texas Aid Network connects aid groups with transportation providers

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The Texas Aid Network, a program produced by the nonprofit NPower Texas, announced that it has launched a new website, www.texasaidnetwork.org, the next generation of its original. The site provides a one-stop shop where Texas nonprofits can search for donated goods and transportation providers to then ship those goods to needed destinations. With this online effort, the Texas Aid Network hopes to move 8 million pounds of donated goods by the end of 2011, while connecting more than 2,000 Texas nonprofits, such as food banks and disaster relief organizations, with transporters.

“Transportation is one the biggest challenges Texas relief organizations face,” says Brad Watts, Texas Aid Network’s senior program manager. “Many groups don’t have the vehicles or budget to move donation offers, which can be anything from food to building or disaster supplies.”

Through Texas Aid Network transportation partners, nonprofits such as the Texas Food Bank Network have received discounted and donated moves averaging 10 to 20 percent off retail shipping transportation for an average savings of about $135 per move. “When you consider that $1 can often pay for five donated meals, as many as 675 more people may be fed per move,” Watts says.

The redesigned site also hopes to benefit transportation partners by providing a platform where trucking professionals can search and bid for nonprofits’ shipping jobs and provide donated or discounted loads. The service also allows transportation providers to search for jobs in cities where they otherwise would move empty or incomplete truckloads at a financial loss.

“I like this system because I get an e-mail right away when there is a job,” says Andy Chen, senior transportation representative for Salt Lake City-based C.H. Robinson. “The portal itself is also very user-friendly. While I do it for the business reasons, it’s always good to know we are helping nonprofits move their freight. I like knowing that the final outcome of our jobs is good.”