TORONTO, Ont. – The charity devoted to helping truckers is now accepting donations as well as nominations for aid this holiday season.
The Truckers Christmas Group is hoping to raise $20,000, which will benefit 40 trucking families in the U.S. and Canada.
Based in Wichita, Kan., TCGO has raised $90,000 since it was formed by a group of truckers in 2008.
It all started with one driver wanting to donate an extra $500 he had to a family during Christmas.
“He didn’t know how to do it. So, a bunch of us stepped in, and said ‘Hey, we might as well help you out’. And then other people started to donate,” said Greg Manchester, director of public relations, and one of the five founders of the group.
It wasn’t until a few years later the organization was registered as a charity, he said.
Manchester, who has been working for Purolator for 34 years, is the only Canadian on the board of TCGO. Another Canadian, Shelley Uvanile-Hesch of Sharp Transportation, works as a volunteer.
The organization has so far helped 154 families ease the financial burden associated with the holiday season. In 2018, it delivered $8,000 to 16 families.
Manchester said the group has set the aid at a minimum of $500 per family because “we don’t want to give a thousand people one dollar”.
Since TCGO announced its 2019 campaign, people have been calling to donate and nominate, he said.
The group also accepts corporate donations in the form of gifts, which are then sold online.
This year, trucking’s top musicians are also helping the group raise funds.
The participants include Bill Weaver, Paul Marhoeffer, Taylor Barker, Mandi Jo Pinhierio, Jason Henley, Tony Justice, Ken Freeman and Keith Sampson.
“We are always hearing stories of drivers and their families who have fallen on hard times,” said country singer Justice.
“I am proud to be able to do my small part to help my brothers and sisters of the highway — and their families — to have a better and more blessed Christmas.”
The 2019 campaign started Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 11. Funds will be dispersed to qualifying families a week before Christmas.