Truckers For Troops: Not your average care package program

May 2024

Land Line Staff


When someone mentions sending a care package, the first image that comes to mind is likely something the size of a shoe box stuffed with a few snacks and a thoughtful gift or two. Sure, that’s your basic care package. But Truckers For Troops care packages are anything but average.

These care packages funded through the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s Truckers For Troops campaign weigh around 70 pounds. The boxes measure 18-by-16-by-14 inches. Every available space is jam-packed with a variety of goodies ranging from practical to fun and games.

We took a quick cruise around the internet looking for care packages to purchase and even looked up a few programs.

Amazon has quite an assortment of care package options. One was a package of 50 snacks that weighed in at 32 ounces and cost around $30. But that $30 likely would shoot up significantly if an overseas address were involved. Of course, there were a variety of bath bomb care packages ranging in price from $20 to $100, depending on how much was in them. But none of those care packages matched the ones from Truckers For Troops in size, weight or variety.

The variety is especially important when curating the contents of the Truckers For Troops care packages.

“Over the years, we’ve learned a lot from feedback from troops who have received the care packages,” said Nikki Johnson, care package coordinator. “We take every request and suggestion to heart and try to make them happen.”

care package

Some suggestions have been as simple as socks, lip balm and other hygiene supplies that occasionally run low on base – and even hot sauce to add flavor to MREs. Games and toys, like card games and squirt guns, also have been included.

Silly String is one “fun” item that has found an extremely useful purpose. While a spirited Silly String fight in the barracks would be what most would imagine, various units that have received the item in care packages actually have been putting it to a lifesaving purpose: detecting trip wires.

“When you hear stories about what troops have done with the contents of the packages and then realize that Silly String literally helped save lives, the mission gets even more profound,” Johnson said.

The Truckers For Troops care packages are so carefully packed that there is no wasted space or unnecessary expense.

“One year, we had a little bit of wiggle room in the care package. We didn’t want to use packing peanuts or something else that would just be tossed, so we used shelled peanuts as our packing peanuts,” Johnson said. “We threw in some bags so that after the contents were unpacked, the troops could just grab a handful of peanuts and toss them in the bag for a snack later.”

An offshoot of the care package program for our

overseas active troops was a backpack program for homeless veterans the Veterans Community Project serves. These backpacks contained toiletries and a poncho.

Participating in the Truckers For Troops campaigns is easy.

Truckers For Troops will recognize National Military Appreciation Month during the two weeks leading up to Armed Forces Day on May 18.

The Mission: Military Appreciation campaign is slated for May 6-19. Truckers can join or renew

their OOIDA membership for $35, with 10% of that money going toward Truckers For Troops.

OOIDA then will match that 10% dollar for dollar. The $35 one-year membership is a savings of $10 off the regular $45 yearly dues.

It’s important to note that 100% of the money raised for Truckers For Troops goes toward care packages and the VCP. All of the packing, mailing, etc. is done by OOIDA volunteer employees to stretch every dollar raised to the max. The same will happen with Mission: Military Appreciation.

The care packages are great, but we need recipients for them.

These giant packages have enough stuff to serve an entire unit. We just need the name and address of someone in the unit for mailing a package. You can send this information as well as any special requests to LL