As Santa well knows, it’s nice to receive at the holidays—but it’s even better to give. Truckers, it turns out, give as well as anyone at the holidays. Here are three trucker groups or individuals that go above and beyond during the holiday season, spreading Christmas cheer in big ways and small.
Stockings for Truckers has delivered more than 4,000 stockings and 3,200 meals to truckers since its inception four years ago.
Founded by trucker wife Heather Bair, Stockings for Truckers is a lifeline for truckers who find themselves on the road at the holidays. Volunteers are truckers’ husbands, wives, mothers and grandmothers.
Volunteers can choose whether they want to cook homemade meals or create stockings filled with personal necessities, treats and gift cards. Volunteers pay for the goods themselves and distribute them at truck stops. Each stocking contains a hand-written Christmas card for truckers as well.
“Truckers don’t get enough recognition,” says volunteer Heather Nelson, who rides along in the truck with her boyfriend. “This is our way of saying thank you.”
As an added treat, Stockings for Truckers distributes stockings to each person in the truck and offers special stockings for diabetics and pets.
“It puts a big smile on everyone’s face,” Nelson says. “Some people get emotional. They break down crying, because truck drivers aren’t used to being recognized in a good way.”
Meals for Truckers
Raised on a farm, Teddi Dunson has been driving trucks since age 14. She’s been giving back to the trucking community for nearly as long. Every year since 1977, Dunson has cooked Christmas dinner for nearby truckers, and she’s still cookin’ in 2016.
Dunson and her husband were team drivers themselves. For years, they hit the local truck stop on Christmas Day and brought truckers back to their home for a holiday feast. “Back then, drivers were more trusting of each other than they are today,” Dunson says.
Now 60, Dunson keeps the tradition alive, though she has changed the format a bit. She prepares a home-cooked Christmas meal for 30, plates it and distributes the meals at two truck stops by her home in Arkansas. “I put my Santa hat on and deliver the meals between noon and 2 p.m. on Christmas Day,” she says.
The plates are piled high with ham or turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, vegetables, pumpkin pie and more.
It’s a lot of work, but Dunson has a good reason for preparing the feast.
“I do it because we’ve got a lot of drivers that don’t have a family to go home to on Christmas,” she says. “Or you have drivers who have families but they can’t make it in for Christmas. It’s depressing. I’ve continued the tradition all these years because it’s five minutes of a bright spot on Christmas Day (and I’m a pretty good cook).”
In November 2008, a trucker named “Wonderful” Wayne Hortman had an idea to launch a trucker charity and posted about it on social media. According to the charity’s website, Hortman wrote: “Got to thinkin’ about Christmas. I like to help the needy. Thought maybe my fellow truckers might want to join me in setting up a fund right here on CDL for some trucker families that might be in need of having a good Christmas.”
The rest, as they say, is history. In the eight years since, Truckers Christmas Group has raised monetary donations for trucking families in need across North America. Truckers nominate families who would make good candidates (nomination forms are on the organization’s website), and the organization chooses recipients based on those nominations.
The group’s goal is to raise enough money to make a difference in the families’ lives at Christmastime. In addition to other fundraising measures, Truckers Christmas Group sells products on its website to raise funds. To date, the group has helped 125 trucking families with $73,000 in monetary donations. In 2016 alone, the charity distributed $7,000 in aid to 13 families.
What other great charities are you part of, truck drivers? We want to highlight all the good you’re doing! Connect with us here and tell us how you’re giving back.
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