Brown’s flat rest areas were busy over the holiday period with hundreds of travellers taking advantage of the Driver Reviver stops located on both sides of the Pacific Highway.
Volunteers from Bulahdelah Lions Club were stationed southbound and Booral Rural Fire Service members operated the 24-hour northbound site.
Brigade Deputy Captain Roger Walton said their members did not hesitate to be involved in the program.
“The brigade feels strongly about this, we would rather meet people over a cup of coffee than in accidents,” he said.
“We have about 15 members along with their families who provide the service 24/7 over the Christmas period and every weekend until the end of January.”
Mr Walton said they have been operating from the red van for the past 23 years and participated in the program from a tent in Bulahdelah prior to this.
Lions Club member Pam Gardener said she got involved because it is an important service that encourages travellers to take regular breaks while driving.
“We’ve had some people who are absolutely exhausted when they come here and really need the break,” she said.
“It allows them to stop, have a rest and refresh before continuing on their journey.”
Aimed at helping to reduce the road toll, more than 200 Driver Reviver sites operated by community groups are open across Australia during holiday periods.
The volunteers serve up free cups of Bushells tea and coffee, Arnott’s biscuits and in some cases simply have a chat with the weary drivers.
Appreciative of the service, travellers stopping at the local sites have been very generous with donations.
“Many people expect to pay and when we tell them it’s free they put money into the donation tin anyway,” Mrs Gardener said.
The local volunteer organisations will use these funds to benefit their communities.
By Daniel SAHYOUN