By Land Line staff
For many OOIDA members and staff, the holiday season has special meaning. Sure, the holiday cheer and thoughts of a prosperous new year are welcomed, but the season takes on a special meaning because of the annual Truckers for Troops campaign that raises money for care packages for military personnel stationed in combat areas overseas.
Members and staff were at the ready for the Fifth Annual Truckers for Troops event scheduled for the week of Dec. 5-9.
“We always look forward to hearing from our members and from past recipients about how they feel about the program. And more importantly, it’s the generosity of our members that has made it a success,” said OOIDA media spokesperson Norita Taylor. “It’s been amazing how much the program grows each year.”
The 2010 campaign raised $71,000. Since the inaugural Truckers for Troops event in 2007, OOIDA and its members have raised a total of $229,000 for care packages.
“Our members relate to this because many of them are veterans and are related to veterans,” Taylor said.
The folks at Shell Rotella donated $5,000 to jumpstart this year’s program just as they did last year.
Here’s how Truckers for Troops works. During the campaign, new and renewed OOIDA memberships are discounted from $45 to $25, and 10 percent goes toward the care package funds. OOIDA then matches that 10 percent. The discounted membership program continues through the end of December.
Money raised goes to buy items for the care packages. In addition to snacks and useful items for the troops, the most popular items in the packages continue to be donated cards and letters.
“It would be great if as many people as possible would create and send us cards and letters to include with everything else in the shipment,” Taylor said. “Especially from kids, it adds that bit of warmth to the whole care package.”
The recipients love to hear from home and know that they are being thought of.
“Thank you all very much for the care packages. The FOB Howz-E-Madad K9 team has put them to great use,” said Staff Sgt. Ryan Stocklin, son of OOIDA Life Member Dave Stocklin. “As the son of a driver, I know all of you can appreciate the sacrifices we make being away from home so much. It’s really appreciated.”
As part of its outreach, Truckers for Troops has earned accolades from many sources. Recently, the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America named Truckers for Troops as an award winner for the campaign’s creativity and planning.
You can send cards and letters – “Attention: Truckers for Troops, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029.” Towns or school names can be included, but please do not include last names or other personal information.
OOIDA staff and volunteers will have a packing day once items are purchased in the early part of the new year. LL