WICHITA, Kan. – It’s getting close to that time of year again, and the Truckers Christmas Group is hoping for another good season collecting donations and helping trucking families in Canada and the US.
With more than $66,000 raised in seven years, helping 112 families during the Holiday Season, Truckers Christmas Group is entering its eighth year, and Mark Abraham, president of the group, said they will start accepting nominations Nov. 24 (US Thanksgiving) for families in need of assistance, through till Dec. 17.
Completely volunteer based, all the money raised by Truckers Christmas Group goes to the families of truck drivers in need.
“Once a family has been nominated and vetted, they are added to our voting list,” Greg Manchester, director of public relations and co-founder of the group told Truck West last year. “How many families we help depends on how much we are able to raise each year.”
Each family that the charity helps is sent a minimum of $500 in cash and can use the money any way they choose.
Abraham said once they receive the list of nominees, the group will call the families and possibly even their employer to find out their story and verify that they qualify for the program. Each family is placed on a scale of one to 10 based on their need, and depending on how much has been donated will determine on how many families will be provided with assistance during the Christmas Season.
On average, the group brings in around $7,000 a year, with last year’s total being just shy of that mark at $5,150. But as Abraham pointed out, it was their first year branching out on their own.
The group was on hiatus in 2014, and did not proceed with its fundraising efforts, as it was in the process of seeking approval of its own license as a charitable foundation after the organization it was affiliated with prior suggested the group go off on its own.
“We applied for our charitable status but did not receive it in time for (the 2014) season,” said Manchester, adding that once they did get the license in February 2015, Christmas had passed, and they wanted to ensure they were operating legally.
Manchester said the group started when a driver was looking to donate $500 to another driver in need and did not know how to go about imparting the funds.
“A bunch of us stepped up to the plate,” said Manchester, “and that was the beginning of what we have now.”
Twelve families were helped in 2015, and Abraham is hoping to do even better this year.
Anyone looking to nominate a family or donate to Truckers Christmas Group starting Nov. 24 can visit their website at www.truckerschristmasgroup.org. People can also shop at the group’s online Christmas store, with proceeds going to the cause. Abraham also said they are in need of volunteers to donate their time to the effort, doing tasks like conference call meetings, vetting families and taking calls from those looking to nominate a family.
A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media industry as an editor, reporter and now as editor of Truck West. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.
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