The mission of the Truckers Christmas Group Group (TCGO) is to offer some monetary help to deserving truck drivers and their households who’ve fallen on laborious instances due to a catastrophic occasion at Christmas.
Virtually 90% of the functions TCGO, a 501(c)(3), has acquired this yr are from truckers sidelined from driving due to most cancers or different extreme well being considerations.
Truck drivers within the U.S. and Canada can apply for a $500 grant by way of TCGO. People can also anonymously nominate drivers in dire straits.
“Truck drivers are sometimes the primary to answer accidents, pure disasters and assist elevate funds for his or her native communities,” Tom Kyrk, public relations coordinator for TCGO, advised FreightWaves. “But when a driver or their household falls on laborious instances attributable to a well being concern or extreme crash, the place’s everybody to assist these truck drivers?”
He stated the chosen households would obtain $500 to pay payments, purchase Christmas presents for his or her youngsters, top off on meals, or no matter their fast wants are for the time being.
TCGO is a volunteer group run by truckers or supporters who’ve a ardour for the business.
The core group that handles the day-to-day operations are truck drivers, who run the charity from their vehicles’ cabs.
The charity will settle for functions for trucking households in want till Dec. 5. Candidates have to be truck drivers to qualify for help. Donations will likely be accepted all through December.
Kyrk stated TCGO plans to disperse the funds beginning on Dec. 16 to qualifying households in time for Christmas.
Since its founding, the group has raised $105,000 and helped 183 trucking households in want during the last 12 years.
TCGO helped 29 truckers’ households in 2019, together with three drivers battling terminal most cancers.
The group has set a fundraising aim of $20,000 to assist much more households in 2020, Kyrk stated.
“Our aim is to verify we come up with the money for coming in to assist all the households that apply and qualify,” he stated.
Spreading hope in the course of the holidays
Truck drivers are a proud bunch and don’t wish to admit after they need assistance, Kyrk stated.
One in every of his group’s greatest challenges is convincing drivers to fill out an software for help.
“We’ve talked to fairly a couple of truckers and their households who could qualify, however they’re like, ‘properly, I do know there are different households which have it worse than us proper now. We don’t wish to take something away from them.”
Kyrk stated this can be a widespread theme amongst truck drivers who’ve misplaced practically all the things however nonetheless put others’ wants first.
The household of a terminally in poor health truck driver TCGO helped in 2019 reached out to Kyrk lately, providing to volunteer this yr to “give again.”
“His household described him as the kind of man who would provide the shirt off his again, all the time lively in fundraising and varied charities,” Kyrk stated.
Sadly, due to this driver’s sickness, he wasn’t capable of proceed driving and just about misplaced all the things. The lack of revenue and mounting medical payments left the dying truck driver with out the monetary means to purchase Christmas presents for his household, Kyrk stated.
Kyrk stated the motive force knew this was possible his final Christmas, however he needed to go away his household with some optimistic recollections of their final Christmas collectively.
“The cash TCGO gave the motive force allowed him to do one thing for his household, to create household recollections that would assist get them by way of the darkish instances forward,” Kyrk stated.
The motive force died quickly after Christmas.
“A whole lot of these households have misplaced hope, however we can provide them a ray of hope and present them that, ‘Hey, your brother and sister truck drivers nonetheless care about you,” Kyrk stated.
Pandemic hinders group’s networking objectives
TCGO’s aim in 2020 was to community with many alternative companies and develop its company donor alternatives on the main truck reveals.
Nonetheless, the pandemic pressured all the main truck reveals to cancel in 2020. Most have already referred to as off truck reveals for 2021.
“We had tentative conferences arrange with varied executives of some firms, however COVID just about killed these plans,” Kyrk stated.
The group has contacted potential donors by way of emails and phone calls. Nonetheless, Kyrk stated charities like his “lose a private connection and relationship-building that you just develop with folks at truck reveals.”
“Even a few of our most beneficiant supporters needed to in the reduction of some in comparison with earlier years as a result of they’re coping with monetary difficulties themselves,” he stated.
Methods to assist TCGO
The group consists of volunteers who work tirelessly to vet candidates and fundraise all through the vacation season to make sure it could assist all the households on its record. TCGO is all the time on the lookout for extra volunteers to assist out.
The charity has a store on its website the place folks should buy gadgets with 100% of the proceeds going immediately to assist TCGO households. Different donors give the group a share from the sale of things bought on the shop’s web site “to assist TCGO preserve a extra continuous income stream all year long.”
Some supporters donate crafts the group sells on its web site. All the proceeds go to assist the households.
“Christmas needs to be a contented time, a time for hope,” Kyrk stated. “A few of these households are going by way of some darkish instances, so perhaps we can provide them a bit ray of hope.”
Read more articles by FreightWaves Senior Editor Clarissa Hawes.
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