Meridian Welcomes Weary Travelers

January 21, 2015 | Sandra Blackmer

Travelers stopping at the westbound rest area on Interstate 84 near Boise, Idaho, on the Sunday following Thanksgiving were greeted with a free hot drink and a pastry, courtesy of the Meridian Church. Hot chocolate, hot apple cider, bottled water, cake, brownies and cookies were among the offerings. Donations were accepted but not required.

“We just wanted to welcome those returning to or passing through the Boise area and give them a drink and a cookie or a brownie to make their trip more enjoyable and safe,” explains Christine Schaffer, the Meridian Church member who spearheaded the event. “It’s just a way to do something nice for others without asking for anything in return.”

Schaffer, together with her husband, Ronald, and hospitality committee leader Sylvia Douglas, prepared the homemade goodies and braved cold temperatures for more than eight hours to meet and greet travelers. Other Meridian members helped throughout the day in two-hour shifts.

Hundreds of people — driving from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Utah — took advantage of the surprise treats and expressed gratitude for the group’s efforts. One family with four young children was especially thankful.

“The kids have been really good, even though we’ve been on the road for more than six hours already,” the father said. “I promised them a treat, so this is perfect. Thank you so much for doing this.” Others dropped money into the donation box without taking anything, saying they were “just grateful for what this group is doing.”

The donations received “will provide funds to help us do more things like this,” Douglas says. “We want to do this again.”

To learn more about the Meridian Church, go to