Through the help of Truckers Final Mile’s Sleigh Bells and Santa program, 33 children of deceased truck drivers received an extra gift for Christmas.
Robert Palm, an OOIDA member from Albuquerque, N.M., and founder of Truckers Final Mile, told Land Line on Tuesday, Jan. 8, that the program generated about $1,800 in donations and provided gifts to 33 children.
Sleigh Bells and Santa, which started in 2015, gives gifts to children who lost a parent with an active commercial driver’s license in the past year. Palm said the organization was able to provide a gift to every eligible child who was nominated.
“The intent of the program is to let them know that they are not forgotten,” Palm said. “The trucking family is still by their side and is still thinking about them.”
Truckers Final Mile, which started in 2013, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity that helps return truck drivers to their families in the event of death. The Sleigh Bells and Santa program was added a couple of years later.
Nineteen children received $834 worth of gifts in 2015, while $1,900 worth of donations were distributed to nine families in 2016, and 12 children received gifts from a total of $1,400 in donations in 2017. The campaign is open to any child age 18 or younger who lost a truck driver parent in a given year.
Palm said he would like to see the program get bigger in 2019 and include corporate donors as the number of eligible children increases.
“It may be just something like a teddy bear, but we are going to get them something so that they know they are on the mind of the people in the trucking community,” he said. “We want them to know we are thinking about them.”
As for the Truckers Final Mile program, Palm said the charity has already helped four families of deceased truckers in 2019.
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