It’s hard to find a place to park at the Iowa 80 Truckstop on Thanksgiving Day.
Two thousand people will stop in for the big meal. It’s a combination of truckers, locals and people just passing through.
But once they walk in the door, everyone is family.
“Local people that come in, we all know them on a first name basis,” said Iowa 80 Kitchen manager Chris Hahn. “Drivers come in you know a lot of them we know. They come in regularly. So we are part of their family.”
Timothy Cox has been driving semi-trucks for 15 years. This is his fourth Thanksgiving in a row away from home.
“I miss the grand-babies,” Cox said. “That’s the bad part about driving. You do lose a lot of family time.”
But whenever he stops in Walcott he can forget about being homesick for a while.
“Now and then you run into a place that’s similar to this, but is kind of one of its own,” Cox said.
For locals it’s a place to gather with family no matter how big.
“This is our second year for having thanksgiving out here. We all love it. It’s a good place to eat. It’s a great place to come and we get to be together and have time to talk and stuff for thanksgiving,” said Jeff Rees, whose family of 17 was eating at the Iowa 80 Truckstop.
Hahn’s family has been involved with the Iowa 80 Kitchen from the start. Her family has worked every holiday for decades
“We get through the holidays alright. It’s just another day,” she said.
But she said knowing they give people a place to come together makes it worth it.
“It’s just important for people to have a place to go on the holidays. A lot of people are alone. A lot of people don’t have a place to go. It all works out that we’re all kind of a close knit group,” Hahn said.