In its first five years, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn.’s Truckers for Troops program has raised more than $303,000 to go toward care packages for members of the armed forces serving in active duty overseas. This year OOIDA is hoping to break all previous records.

“In the first five years, truckers raised enough to provide 2,241 care packages – enough for 26,748 service members and 100 military dogs,” said Norita Taylor, OOIDA director of public relations, in a Land Line article, “and the goal for the 2012 campaign is to raise enough money to exceed that.”

The project got an early boost with a generous donation from Shell Rotella for $5,000, Taylor said.

Through Jan. 31, 2013, mention the Truckers for Troops and dues will be discounted from $45 to $25.

Some of the items included in the care packages sent in past years were self-heating coffees, socks, cigars, Silly String, snacks, books and personal care items.  OOIDA begins shipping boxes overseas in January and continues to ship them out through early summer.

OOIDA is also asking for personal letters to be sent to our troops as part of the care packages. “We are sending cards and letters in the packages again since it’s a great way to show support, and our recipients tell us it’s one of the most popular things we send,” said Taylor.  Cards and letters can be sent until Jan. 7, 2013.

Send letters to OOIDA headquarters, attention: Truckers for Troops, P.O. Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029 or e-mail to troops@ooida.com. Individual envelopes are not necessary. Towns or school names can be included, but please do not include last names or other personal information. To make donations or for more information, call Taylor at 816-229-5791.

OOIDA is also asking for names and addresses of troops in Afghanistan and other active combat zones. You may include that information with your letters or send it separately.