OOIDA’s Ninth Annual Truckers for Troops telethon has phones at the Association headquarters jumpin’ this week. Every year truckers send boxes to U.S. troops stuffed with 60 pounds of fun things and necessities. Last year alone, 260 care packages were sent and shared among more than 2,100 military personnel.
Basically, you can join OOIDA or renew your membership for $35. Ten percent of that money will go into a fund. That fund is used to send care packages to U.S. troops stationed in combat areas overseas, and to help returning veterans, especially in long-term care facilities. OOIDA will match that money.
“OOIDA’s goal is to send care packages to as many of our military personnel as we can,” says Mark Reddig, host of the telethon. The telethon is aired on “Land Line Now.” That’s OOIDA’s daily satellite radio program on Sirius XM’s Road Dog Channel.
Reddig says since OOIDA started Truckers for Troops, the Association has raised more than $461,000, enabling OOIDA to send more than 3,000 care packages from truckers, serving more than 36,000 military personnel.
Nikki Johnson, who coordinates the ordering and shipping for the Truckers for Troops program says this year’s care packages that go abroad will include socks, personal hygiene items, puzzles, Silly String, self-heating coffee, lip balm, snacks and more. The boxes also contain letters and cards from school kids – a favorite among soldiers.
Last year, Johnson says the project sent 14 care packages specifically for women, which was a big hit with our female troops.
“And now we are expanding this program. We also want to make a real impact in some of the veterans’ facilities that are short on some very basic supplies,” says Johnson.
Johnson is still collecting names and addresses of troops stationed in combat zones and other veterans who are need. If you have a name, you should call 816-229-5791 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said OOIDA also needs help finding what facilities need help and you can mail that information to the same email address as above.
Once she has a name and address, she makes sure each care package contains enough for an entire unit. “That allows us to serve more military personnel than if we sent a package for one person to each address,” she says.
Johnson says the care packages will not start to arrive until 2016. “The troops get a lot of gifts during the holidays but nothing in the months afterward. We like to send several packages to each unit over a couple of months. We want them to know we are thinking about them all the time, not just holidays.”
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