July 2, 2024

Christmas in July: Haulin’ for the Holidays with Reliance Partners

The holiday spirit is coming early this year with the Tennessee Trucking Association’s annual Haulin’ for the Holidays fundraiser, kicking off this July. This initiative, driven by the Tennessee Trucking Foundation and the Young Professionals Council, aims to bring joy to Tennessee’s children, teens, and families by partnering with TTA members and local charities.

Jessie Merritt, Executive Vice President of Sales at Reliance Partners, recently discussed the impact of the fundraiser on the WHAT THE TRUCK?!?! podcast. She highlighted previous events’ success and emphasized early involvement’s importance.

“The kids are so appreciative. Not only are we getting toys into the hands of kids, but we’re able to put toys and supplies in the hands of the nonprofits that need them. At Hands Up Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee, we were able to build them a playground. We say toy drive but it’s so much bigger than that,” Merritt shared.

This remarkable program relies entirely on donations, with no external grants or funds. “Angel Sponsors,” which include motor carriers, freight brokers, and industry vendors, play a crucial role by enabling the purchase of necessary toys and supplies. Last year, the effort raised over $100,000, with contributions ranging from $100 to $5,000.

Merritt explained, “Our Angel Sponsors are motor carriers or freight brokers or vendors who service our industry. We serve nonprofits that are all based in Tennessee across every major city. It takes a ton of people to make this happen. The Tennessee Trucking Foundation is a 501C tax-deductible donation.”

The need is significant, as research from the Sycamore Institute revealed that 17.6% of children in Tennessee lived in low-income households in 2022, though this number has improved since 2010.

Nonprofits seeking assistance can apply through the open application process. Merritt encourages any interested nonprofit to reach out directly to her email at

Dooner, the podcast host, challenged the community to raise $150,000 by the holiday season. Merritt echoed this goal, urging companies to budget for donations and spread the word. The deadline for donations is in November, making early contributions essential.

To learn more about Reliance Partners and their role in this heartwarming initiative, check out the full article on FreightWaves here.