A Christmas Message for Truck Driversby Jana Ritter - Published: 12/25/2013
There's no place like home for the holidays, but for some people, work comes first and that means they can’t always make it home to their families. Truck drivers, firefighters, emergency responders, snowplow and salt truck operators are all part of the Christmas workforce, providing essential services and conveniences while many have a day off.
Truck stops around the country were as busy, if not busier than most days and while some truck drivers don’t mind a chance to earn money and a good day to be on the road, others can find it lonely or anxious to get back to their families at home. Fortunately, a local group is stepping in to help truck drivers heading through the ArkLaTex have a merry Christmas. "A Trucker's Christmas" ministry is giving up a part of their Christmas to go to the TA Truck Stop in Greenwood to give out gift bags to the truckers who pass through.
Husband and wife, Pete and Tammy Smith founded the ministry. This is the fourth year they've brought Christmas to the truckers who work on the holiday. Tammy says it takes early preparation to make all of it happen. "We start collecting items sometime in September. But we start preparing hearts and minds for it, you know, at the beginning of the year. As soon as Christmas is over, as soon as this is over, we will start again," says Tammy.
The group is expected to give more than 225 bags to truckers. The bags are filled with a Bible, cookies, CD's and toiletries. "It indescribable to be able to go out and give to someone else. I have been blessed beyond anything I imagined or deserve and able to go share that with someone else is beyond anything I could describe," says Tammy.
Pete says the message they want to send to the truckers is, "You are not alone." "It's just hard, your family is back at home, you see everyone else, you see cars passing you with all the family in the car and they are traveling together. You're just alone and that's the hardest part. That's the one thing we wanted to show with these bags to let them know they are not alone," says Pete.
The ministry is also giving bags to store and diner employees. "It kind of pierced my heart. We would give truckers bags, then it kind of just hit me. The waitresses and the store clerks have to be without their families on Christmas, too. Because they're having to take care of the truck drivers, that kind of became my part of the project to make the waitress bags and pass them out also," says Tammy.
The group has been at it since 8 a.m. and throughout Christmas Day, passing out the bags at the TA Truck Stop located at 8560 Greenwood Road in Greenwood.