Thriving Driver Reviver
THE Yelgun Driver Reviver is among the five busiest sites in the country with more than 6800 weary travellers served this time last year and predictions that will be exceeded this holiday period.
There seemed to be a lot more tourists this year which was keeping busy the 110 volunteers who run the service 24/7 over the festive season, Yelgun Driver Reviver chairperson Trevor Watts said.
The busiest shift so far was December 23 when 202 people were served between 10am-2pm. A further 200 were served on Christmas.
Mr Watts said it was the friendly chat and a listening ear that drew travellers as much as the free coffee, tea, cordial and Arnott's biscuits.
"It's like a semi-Lifeline some nights," he laughed.
The free service is unique to Australia with many tourists expressing amazement at its generosity and wishing that their countries might also adopt the model.
Mr Watts, from Mullumbimby, said the service was a reflection of Australia's geography and national character.
"It's a big country isn't it? And we all know that Aussies like to volunteer."
Driver Reviver national co-ordinator Allan McCormac said the Yelgun site was not only one of the busiest of 200 around Australia but also his personal favourite.
"They're a really great bunch of people and they're really well organised. And they look after their volunteers," Mr McCormac said.
Yesterday's morning volunteers Jenny Batson from Mullumbimby and Neroli Ford from Myocum said overseas backpackers were among the most appreciative with some travellers even giving small gifts such as chocolate on Christmas Day.
The comment book at the front of the refreshment van is full of words of gratitude like: 'Thank you. Was amazing. Belief in humanity restored'; 'Never experienced something like this back home. Really good service'; 'Saved us from the children' and 'You have saved many lives'.
IT'S BIG BICKIES
- Yelgun Driver Reviver volunteers served up 6808 drinks between December 9, 2011 and January 2, 2012.
- Between June 2011 and June 2012 they served 22,150 travellers.
- Last financial year volunteers contributed 1828 hours over 483 shifts,
- Volunteers are expected to give out 7500 twin-packs of Arnott's biscuits this festive period.
- The Yelgun Driver Reviver will be open around the clock until January 6. It will then be open on weekends until the end of January. Other sites include New Italy and Kempsey