St. Christopher Fund – What is it, and How can I Help
St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund (SCF), is just about the only place a trucker can turn to when medical assistance is needed and the truck driver doesn’t have health insurance.
Some truck drivers work for companies that don’t offer a health insurance plan for drivers. Or it may be that the driver is an owner-operator, and simply can’t afford to have health insurance on themselves.
Good thing there is an organization called St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund, that these drivers in their times of need can turn to. I recently contacted Donna Kennedy Ph. D., M.S. she is the executive director for SCF. She agreed to do an interview to give readers some details about SCF.
Q. What is St. Christopher Fund? The St. Christopher Truckers Development & Relief Fund (SCF) is a “five-zero-one” (c)(3), not-for-profit organization. The basic mission of the SCF is to help professional drivers and their families who have financial needs due to medical problems. Assistance may be in the form of direct payment for medical services or prescription drugs, assistance with expenses while recovering from illness and out of work, or negotiating price reductions with medical providers and hospitals. The Fund also assists and teaches drivers how to negotiate hospital and doctor bills.
Q. When was SCF started? The SCF officially gained their “five-zero-one” (c)(3) status in December, “two-thousand-seven,” although the organization was able to provide assistance in November.
Q Why was SCF started? Discussions surrounding how a foundation could be established for professional truck drivers began in October “two-thousand-six.” The dream started with Dave Nemo after hearing from truckers on his XM satellite radio show. The number of professional drivers who are facing significant health care issues is staggering and sadly many go on to lose their trucks, homes and even their lives.
The dreams of a foundation became a reality when John McElligott, M.D., commonly known as Dr. John in the trucking industry, joined forces with Dave Nemo and his business partner Michael Burns. Together they envisioned a grass roots foundation to help minimize the unfortunate outcomes related to professional driver’s health issues. The name Saint Christopher seemed obvious since he is the patron saint of travelers.
Q. Do you have any success stories that are not listed on the website? We have several success stories. One that really makes me proud is from last summer. A gentleman, who lived in his truck, needed a pacemaker. His company came to get his truck since he was going to be out of work, leaving him with no place to go. He didn’t have insurance and he was broke. We were able to put him up in a hotel before the surgery, negotiate with the doctor and hospital to get the surgery at no cost, and then get him in with a medical shelter while he recovered.
On several occasions, we have been able to stop the shut-off of utilities. We have also stopped drivers from being evicted or foreclosed upon. We have helped numerous drivers negotiate down their medical bills and helped get those set up on payment plans.
Q. How many truckers can you help per year, if you have an estimate? Since we began, we have helped about “One hundred and fifty” drivers. We don’t know week from week if we will be able to continue to help or how much financially we can help. The reason for this is that we operate solely on donations so when donations stop or slow down, our ability to continue providing assistance slows down. Some weeks we only have one driver seek assistance, while other weeks we have as many as twenty.
Q. What fund-raising events does SCF get involved with? We have an annual golf tournament in October that, for the past two years has been organized by a driver, Paul Sasso. We are currently working on hosting a “prom” to honor Jazzy Jordan, the “seventeen” year old young lady that is running across America.
Q. What do people need to do in order to donate? And is their a minimum amount?
Donations can be made in one of three ways: (1) Send a check to the SCF: P.O. Box “three-zero-seven-six-three,” Knoxville, TN “three-seven-nine-three-zero”
(2) Click the ‘Donate‘ button on the top of the web page to donate securely through PayPal www.truckersfund.com
(3) Call 1-877-332-GIVE to make a donation by credit card. There is no minimum amount.
Q. Is there a set limit your organization offers per help request? Not necessarily, but due to the number of applicants and the slow down in donations, our most recent offers have ranged from “three hundred-four hundred” per applicant.
Q. How long does the process usually take before being approved or denied? It varies. Once an application has come in, we request a copy of their medical records. We never know how long it will take to actually get those records. However, once we have them, the review committee meets typically every Wednesday to go over applications.
The applicants are then informed about the next step in the process. For instance, if they were approved, we ask for a copy of a bill(s) so that we can pay companies directly. If they were not approved, we discuss missing information or provide other resources that may be able to help them.
Q. Is there anything else you have to add? We would like everyone to help support the Run with Jazzy (www.runwithjazzy.com). She is an incredible young lady with such a huge heart. People can check her website to see where she is. If she’s in your area, go out to support her or run with her! She has already run 2,000+ miles!
Thank you Donna for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. If you give to charities please consider giving to this one, it is for a good cause. Remember that truckers are the life-line of America, if you bought it a trucker brought it.
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