According to studies conducted by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 88% of drivers had risk factors for chronic diseases like obesity (which nearly 70% of drivers surveyed were), diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The trucker lifestyle attributes to higher risks of all these dangerous health concerns. However, in the past, there weren’t a lot of options for helping cover expenses for the drivers that hit them more than people in most other occupations. Frequently, truck drivers work long irregular hours, have unhealthy diets, lack time to exercise, and can’t afford time off for illness. So when medical problems strike, truckers commonly can’t seem to keep up with their bills.
Dave Nemo, host of the Dave Nemo Show (XM Radio Channel 171 – Open Road,) saw the financial burden of injured or sick drivers and knew he needed to take action. St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund was founded by Nemo with the help of a man named Dr. John McElligott to come to the aid of trucker drivers in need. The nonprofit “provides assistance in the form of direct payment for medical services or prescription drugs, assistance with expenses while recovering from illness and out of work, and/or providing information on how to negotiate price reductions with medical providers and hospital.
Who does the organization help?
The organization helps approved CDL-holding professional truck driver applicants experiencing financial difficulty because of a medical issue. The nonprofit receives up to 50 applications a month and raising so they aim to choose the cases that are most imminent of importance. However, less than 1% of applications to the organization have been denied.
What costs does the organization help their beneficiaries with?
Medical expenses like doctor visits, cost of procedures, and prescriptions are covered to point. Other living expenses like rent/mortgage, car payments, insurance, and utility bills. The costs and amount given is dependent on the particular case as reviewed and determined by their board of directors. The money from the trucker’s fund gets sent directly to the bill holders and none gets directly sent to the driver.
The organization is NOT authorized to cover: phone, cable, internet, furniture/appliance rental, child support, credit card bills, garbage, or motorcycle payments.
The St. Christopher Trucker’s Development and Relief gets its funding with the help of campaign fundraising such as TravelCenters of America‘s Band Together Campaign, prize wheels at trade shows, and public support to raise their donations. In the future, the organization has hopes of continuing their mission and working on gaining corporate support. Additionally, they want to put their focus into health & wellness programs to educate drivers and potentially prevent some of the medical issues drivers face.
“Each driver I talk to impacts me. They are so hard working and they are so willing to support each other in tough times. We have kept drivers from losing their homes, we’ve kept drivers from losing their semi’s and thereby from losing their livelihood that supports their families, we have paid for health insurance premiums so drivers didn’t lose the health care they so desperately need, we have paid basic household expenses so drivers could be home with their spouse that was passing away instead of being on the road, we have paid for cataract surgeries so drivers could continue to work and not have to give up their love of driving, we have helped get cpaps and diabetic supplies and the list just goes on and on. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with each driver and do what we can to support them while they are going through a tough time. And it’s a blessing to see these drivers get back on the road doing what they love. I don’t think people realize how important truck drivers are. If we have it – they brought it – and they deserve our support. They live a lifestyle most of us are unwilling to live and they love it and they work hard.” –
Shannon Currier – Operations Manager / Director of Philanthropy & Development
As of February 28, 2015 the SCF has helped 1,220 drivers and their families with $903,802.41 in financial assistance.
You can make a donation to the St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund here.