It’s not all about cutting loose and having a good time at the Papa John’s parking lot during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville. Truckers who park there spend a lot of time and effort raising money for a variety of charitable causes.
The “Cause We Can” group hosted a breakfast and silent auction that raised over $800. Funds were split equally between two worthy causes – The St. Christopher Truckers Fund and Truckers Final Mile. The big prize of the silent auction was a handmade American Flag-themed afghan.
OOIDA Life Member Jan McNeil, of North Little Rock, Ark., one of the organizers of the breakfast said the group homed in on those two charities because of the work they do to support truckers.
“Anybody that gets in the truck can have a problem that St. Christopher and Truckers Final Mile can help with,” McNeil says.
Cause We Can is a group of current and former truckers who raise money for charities that benefit truckers. Each year, they operate the Cause We Can Cafe at the Papa John’s parking lot during MATS.
McNeil credits the late Rusty “Yoda” Wade, a trucker and fixture at the Papa John’s scene for years, with inspiring the group to help out with meals during the show. She and her husband initially got involved volunteering at the Burnt Beans Commissary, another Papa John’s fixture.
“It was Yoda’s idea,” she says. “He said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have five or six kitchens all over this lot?'”
The St. Christopher Fund works to help drivers with financial expenses during a time of crisis due to a medical problem. Truckers Final Mile provides assistance with transportation and lodging for drivers or their families in the event of a death, debilitating injury or serious illness on the road.
Elsewhere at Papa John’s, other groups were raising funds to support pet causes of their own. The folks with Operation Roger – a trucker pet transport service – raised donations via chalk portraits.
McNeil says it’s the volunteers who help out with various events that make all the difference.
Greg Grisolano, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2013. His passion is finding and telling compelling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry. Greg is a graduate of Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kan.