As has been noted numerous times before, the lifestyle of the truck driver is not for everyone. Once glamorized in movies and television shows, few kids now grow up wanting to be a truck driver, and that is contributing to the lack of drivers in the industry. Pay scale, time away from home, and other reasons contribute as well, but the ultimate point is that truck drivers are often alone and away from home for days or even weeks at a time.
Fourteen-hour work days take their toll on anybody, and truck drivers are no different. One thing most American workers don’t have to worry about is how they will reach their loved ones during a period of need? When your child or spouse is rushed to the hospital, most workers just leave work and head to the hospital. For truck drivers, that is not an option. They may be thousands of miles away from home and hauling a time-sensitive load of goods. They just can’t leave the truck on the side of the road.
Fortunately, there is a charity out there that can help these truckers in their time of need. In fact, there are several charities that are designed to help truck drivers navigate difficult times in their lives. A search of “trucking” on CharityNavigator.org pulls up more than 250 such organizations. Some are 501(c)(3) charities while others are not and may not be non-profits, so thoroughly check out any charity you are interested in donating to before you do so.
If you are interested in helping out truckers, here are five charities most commonly mentioned in online forums and searches that work to assist truck drivers and their families in times of need.
St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund
More commonly known just as St. Christopher, this charity is perhaps the most well-known within the industry. The organization has helped over 2,200 truckers and provides free vaccines, stop smoking programs, financial assistance and links to resources to help with overall health and wellness. St. Christopher Fund was created to help truck drivers and their families who have financial needs due to a current medical problem and these types of programs fit within the scope of the mission.
The organization is funded by donations. To learn more or to donate, visit www.truckersfund.org.
Meals for 18 Wheels
Meals for 18 Wheels came together in 2013 in time for the holidays. The organization helps supply hot meals to truck drivers, who are often in search of home-cooked meals. The group limits the number of meals a trucker can receive to three within a six-month period. Meals for 18 Wheels’ Facebook page posts messages of drivers in need of a hot meal and community members have the chance to help out by messaging the page for more information and how to deliver that meal.
Meals for 18 Wheels can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MealsFor18Wheels/.
Founded by Robert Palm, a truck driver who acknowledges he missed out on many family activities during his driving career, TruckersFinalMile.org helps truckers reunite with their families during crisis. The group can help provide transportation and lodging during critical times and has a hotline staffed 24/7/365.
The group offers assistance under the following scenarios:
Death of a Truck Driver
Severe Injury of a Truck Driver
Major Medical Event of a Truck Driver
Any of these occurring to a family member of a truck driver at home.
A mobility program to help truck drivers facing mobility and accessibility needs retrofit their homes.
Later this year, TruckersFinalMile.org is hoping to launch a $1,000 assistance program to help families of fallen truck drivers offset certain expenses and a separate 24-hour grief counseling service.
Visit TruckersFinalMile.org to learn more about the program.
Trucker Charity offers a variety of services to those in the trucking industry, including life coaches and mentoring with one-on-one assistance. The organization also provides assistance with food and emergency housing for truckers that become stranded due to disaster or inclement weather and operates a food pantry for truckers at exit 68 along I-70 in Brownstown, IL. Drivers can pick up 3 days’ worth of food at the pantry. The food pantry is run in cooperation with the Association of Christian Trucker’s. You do not have to be a trucker to benefit from Trucker Charity, you just need to work in the industry.
Visit www.truckercharity.org to learn more about the organization or to make a donation.
Operation Roger is not a charity that helps truckers, per se, but it shows the compassionate side of the trucking industry. The group helps reconnect pets with their owners with the assistance of truck drivers. Operation Roger helps transport lost pets and those saved from shelters who are on their way to their forever homes. The pets ride along with the truck driver to their destination. The group is always looking for drivers to participate, as the need to connect pets with their owners is great.
To donate, participate or learn more about Operation Roger, visit www.operationroger.rescuegroups.org.
These are just a few of the many charitable organizations involved in the trucking industry. Individual companies may have their own organizations they support, or even run their own local charity. Remember also that charitable donations provide value to businesses, especially small businesses such as trucking firms. In addition to providing support to a local organization and by extension members of your local community, the positive publicity it garners can be beneficial when it comes to hiring. In general, people tend to want to work for organizations that give back, making it easier to find good, qualified employees. There is also a possible tax deduction to consider, but you should consult with your tax provider to ensure the donation qualifies.
If you know of a charitable organization dedicated to the industry you would like to suggest, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may do a follow-up.