EVERGREEN, Colo. — To help provide personal protective equipment, popularly known as PPE, to truck drivers who are moving in and out of hot zones to perform essential work, DDC FPO, a back office partner for the transportation industry, has teamed up with Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders (TEAR), a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded with the mission to help truck drivers in distress.
TEAR was founded by working truck drivers who now serve as the organization’s board of directions: Desiree Wood, Dominic Oliveira and Idella Hansen. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, TEAR has built and deployed a comprehensive network of corporate sponsors and volunteers to source, assemble and distribute personal protective equipment kits to truck drivers on the front lines.
“The drivers are so appreciative,” Wood said. “They spend all day by themselves, and aren’t used to receiving anything for free, let alone being recognized. They are thrilled to receive the kits.”
Wood explained that because different states have different regulations, having the right personal protective equipment is critical.
“There are over three million drivers out there,” she said. “While we are only a drop in the bucket, every little bit helps.”
Marissa Crotty, president and chief operating officer for DDC FPO, said the company was seeking a quick, effective way to help drivers stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the company asked its clients what how best to help drivers, the responses were unanimous.
“Our clients reported that what the drivers need most is PPE,” Crotty said. “So, we were determined to find a way to do that.”
After considering several potential partners, from world-renowned distilleries to mask-production companies and other nonprofit organizations, DDC decided to partner with TEAR.
“What Desiree has done is remarkable,” Crotty said. “She inspires us, and we are thrilled to be able to help her in this effort. This partnership is an honor for us.”
Each kit includes face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, antiseptic wipes and snacks. The delivery process is well coordinated and intentionally targets specific truck stops and rest areas to provide kits to as many drivers as possible across the U.S.
“It’s huge, having DDC’s support,” Wood said. “We simply don’t have the funding to make these kits, let alone to purchase the gas to drive the 120 miles a day to hand them out or even to cover the fee to print the thank-you notes.”
In addition to DDC FPO’s contributions, Stuckey’s Corp. and Transfix have played instrumental roles in TEAR’s success, according to Wood.
“These partners help tremendously,” she said. “Truckers are first responders, and people are seeing that.”
Stuckey’s Corp. wanted to do its part to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. CEO Stephanie Stuckey shared that she specifically researched what organizations are providing trucker relief and connected with TEAR.
“We love partnering with an organization founded by truckers that’s working for truckers,” Stuckey said. “I admire and respect these drivers and know how important they are to our supply chain, which is under strain like never before.”
Stuckey’s is providing the snacks that are placed in each kit.
“The unfortunate reality is that while truckers are putting their health on the line to keep goods moving, many cannot access PPE and are being turned away from delivering essential goods because of it,” said Lily Shen, president and CEO of Transfix. “We are excited to have partnered with TEAR to distribute resources to truckers nationwide.
Shen said the company urges others to share donations of personal protective equipment and to advocate for policy changes that will help make truckers’ jobs and lives easier.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank each and every truck driver for being an essential part of the front line,” Crotty said. “Thank you for the sacrifices you continue to make to keep delivering supplies to all parts of our country.”
Photo courtesy of TEAR.