JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man is using his love of cooking to help others. Even in the hot weather, he says knowing that every meal he sells puts him one step closer to helping someone struggling with addiction makes all the work worthwhile.

“We serve smash burgers, French fries, homemade coneys.”

Smash Burger Boss owner Nate Abernathy says even on a hot day, owning a food truck comes with its perks.

“I really enjoy cooking, talking with people, intermingling with them, and meeting them, and really just serving them a good, quality product.”

This is a side job for Nate and it’s become a passion project.

“Our goal is not to become rich, our goal is to be blessed enough to help sponsor people to go into rehab, once a year, once a month, or whoever God puts in our path, and we can do it, that’s what we want to do.”

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Nate says it was his own personal experience with addiction and faith in God that’s led him to this moment.

“A year ago today, I was in the deepest hole you ever thought of, and God sent my uncle and my cousin, drug me out of it, gave me another chance.”

The truck is a family project, with help from his uncle and his cousin Jon, who says he couldn’t be prouder of the changes in Nate’s life.

“There’s a lot of people that talk about things, and there’s people that talk a little bit about it and then they execute, and he’s definitely an executor. He wants to execute, he has a plan, and I’m excited to see the outcome and be able to see how the story unfolds,” said Jon Abernathy, Nate’s cousin.

And Jon believes Nate is already a success because of the difference he’s trying to make.

“One of the things that he said to me a while back, he said I want to leave this world in a better place than I came into it, and anybody that would say that I’m 100% behind any way that we can support and help,” added Jon.

Nate says the hard work and the hot days are worth it because God put him where he’s at today and has given him a chance to do what someone once did for him.

“One person believing in you is all it takes, and then you find that relationship with Jesus, and then you just go up from there,” said Nate.

Smash Burger Boss operates at Range Line Golf in Joplin most weekends and is available to be booked for special events.