A trucker charity surpassed its fundraising goal and is extending its application deadline to Dec. 7 to help spread holiday cheer to deserving truck drivers and their families who have fallen on hard times.
Truckers Christmas Group Organization (TCGO) exceeded its $20,000 goal on Friday, thanks to fundraising efforts by industry executives, musicians and supporters, according to Tom Kyrk, public relations coordinator for TCGO.
TCGO, a 501(c)(3), has extended its application deadline to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 7 for truck drivers in the U.S. and Canada to apply for a $500 grant. Others can go to the group’s website and anonymously nominate drivers needing financial assistance.
“I was concerned a month ago that we wouldn’t come close to hitting our goal, but people and companies have stepped up to help,” Kyrk told FreightWaves.
Most of the applications TCGO has received this year are from truckers sidelined from driving because of cancer or other severe health concerns.
Selected families would receive $500 to pay bills, buy Christmas presents for their children, stock up on food, or whatever their immediate needs are at the moment, Kyrk said.
TCGO is a volunteer organization run by truckers or supporters who have a passion for the industry.
The core group that handles the day-to-day operations are truck drivers, who run the charity from their truck cabs.
One of his group’s biggest challenges is convincing drivers to fill out an application for assistance.
“Truck drivers are a proud bunch and don’t like to admit when they need help,” Kyrk told FreightWaves recently. “We’ve talked to quite a few truckers and their families who may qualify, but they’re like, ‘well, I know there are other families that have it worse than us right now. We don’t want to take anything away from them.”
Kyrk said this is a common theme among truck drivers who have lost nearly everything but still put others’ needs first.
TCGO plans to disperse the funds on Dec. 16 to qualifying families in time for Christmas.
Since its founding, the organization has raised $105,000 and helped 183 trucking families in need over the last 12 years.
Ways to support TCGO
The group consists of volunteers who work tirelessly to vet applicants and fundraise throughout the holiday season to ensure it can help all of the families on its list. TCGO is always looking for more volunteers to help out.
The charity has a store on its website where people can purchase items with 100% of the proceeds going directly to help TCGO families. Other donors give the group a percentage from the sale of items sold on the store’s website “to help TCGO maintain a more continuous revenue stream throughout the year.”
Some supporters donate crafts the organization sells on its site. All of the proceeds go to help the families.
“Christmas should be a happy time, a time for hope,” Kyrk said. “Some of these families are going through some dark times, so maybe we can give them a little ray of hope.”
This article originally appeared on Freight Waves