Illinois Trucking Association provides free lunches for truck drivers

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MARION (WSIL) — Long-haul truckers have complained the coronavirus pandemic shut down a number of their dining options across the country. Wednesday, hundreds of drivers who passed through Illinois got full bellies.

“One thing we’ve learned about the coronavirus pandemic is that our truck drivers are more important than ever, and they’ve been working really really hard,” said Matthew Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association.

Truck drivers like James Wickwire say the pandemic has opened people’s eyes to their daily challenges, as many dining options are now shut down or limited.

“People have been a lot more appreciative of what we do. You’ve seen a lot more people are waving at you, giving you a little bit more credit on the road,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Illinois Trucking Association gave out 500 free meals as a “thank you.”

“Makes me proud to, you know, people are appreciating what we’re doing out here,” said Wickwire.

Kristy Makosiej says she and her husband sometimes make their own meals in the truck.

“It makes me realize how important we are. It makes me feel and realize how important truck drivers are to keep the country rolling,” she said.

Hart says truckers have always played a key role in providing essential items.

“If it wasn’t for truck drivers, we wouldn’t have anything on our store shelves. We wouldn’t have any toilet paper getting replenished or gas at the gas station or any food at the grocery store,” he said.

Hart says there’s one thing everyone can do to support these essential workers.

“A simple thank you. When you’re walking into a grocery store and you happen to see a driver who’s making that delivery, just thank them for what they do,” he said.

Hart told News 3 this is the third appreciation lunch for truck drivers at weigh stations. He’s hoping to do ten through out Illinois.

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