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LAUREL HILL — It wasn’t a new truck stop eatery, but it was.

Roger Barwick, also known as REPO from Laurel Hill, along with several friends teamed up on Wednesday to help out truckers passing through by serving them a hot meal.

“It is so hard for truckers to get a hot meal right now,” said Margaret Barns, one of the helpers. “When REPO came to me and asked if I would help organize this and help find donations, I was happy to help. I donated rolls and also made banana pudding.”

The event began at 10 a.m. and was held beside Dollar General on Hwy. 74 in Laurel Hill.

“I wasn’t exactly sure where to set up to start with,” said Barwick. “We wanted to make sure we were where we could be seen by these drivers and we only have the one sign.

“I know it can be hard, I run a repo and recovery service, S & D Recovery, and I haven’t really been working for 2.5 months, so I understand some of what they are going through.” he added.

Matthew Barton manned the grilling station, cooking enough chicken to make 300 plates, while the others set up and prepared plates.

“I’m just out here helping a friend help others,” said Barton. “He asked me to help and it’s a good cause, so here I am.”

Chicken wasn’t the only item on the menu for those stopping to grab a bite.

“We have a good bit of food for them,” said Barns. “We are serving them chicken, baked beans, potato salad, a roll and desert. We are starting with the banana pudding but we may run out and have to switch over to something else.”

Along with the plates of food, the crew was also able to gather enough donations to make snack bags for the drivers as well.

“We wanted to try and do as much as we could for these folks — you know, let them know that we do care and we appreciate them and every thing they do to keep everyone going,” Barwick said. “In the snack bags, we are giving them items like chips, crackers, fruit and a drink.”

The effort to feed the truck drivers was a group effort from those serving the food to those behind the scenes making donations to help with the cause.

“I want to thank everyone that is here helping,” said Barnes. “We are all like family and just want to help where we can. I also want to be sure to say thank you to everyone that donated and helped put this together. I don’t want to forget anyone so I won’t try to list them but they know who they are. They all did it out of the kindness of their heart.

“It just means so much to me to see people coming together to help others.”

Truck drivers are taking a hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are still working long hours and putting their health and safety on the line in order to keep plants, stores and medical supplies moving. It is often hard for them to find somewhere to stop that will allow them in or accommodate their trucks in the restaurant drive-thrus.

“It’s just a shame,” said Barnes. “These men and women are out on the road keeping industry and other necessities up and running, and they are the ones who are missing hot meals. It’s sad, they are out there eating things like sardines, crackers and junk food. There are some of them that are even struggling to find somewhere to stop and shower.