Charity through Food Trucks has found its place as an officially accepted and successful method of integrating ways to help others through today’s trends. Heck, people (in the Midwest at least) are still talking about the Make-a-Wish kid who used his to serve people through Food Trucks in Minnesota. In spirit of this, and to spread their names further for people to potentially explore, here are seven non-profits using food trucks to raise money or otherwise just spread the good. We’ve included a simple description of each of these wonderful people and organizations, but we heavily encourage all reading to take the time to follow the links to their sites to REALLY learn in-depth about any of the trucks nearest to you or of most interest.
Reverse Food Truck – Minneapolis, MN
A recent venture from Finnegan’s, a Minnesota non-profit Beer company that on its own sends 100% of its profits towards buying fresh produce from local farms and donating it to food shelves. The truck itself appeared to much
renown and acclaim as it travelled around, offering itself as a source for others to go and GIVE food and donations instead of shelling food out themselves; thus the ‘reverse’ designation.
Refuge Coffee Company – Clarkston, GA
As a whole, Refuge Coffee Company focuses on assisting immigrant refugees, aiding the global community by offering job opportunities in their coffee-related businesses, providing job training, social networking, and chances at commerce. Through this they look to provide a place where refugees can transition into a healthy and economically stable life. And now they have a coffee truck to offer even more positions in!
Kitchen on the Street – Phoenix, AZ and San Antonio, TX
In an act to feed hungry children in families well below the poverty line, the Scarpinato family of Vince, Lisa, and Taylor started Kitchen on Wheels in an effort to provide ‘food backpacks’ every Friday at various schools in order to prevent hunger on the school-lunch-absent weekends. Chef Vince brings creates global foods to sell at street fairs and other events, the proceeds of which go back to fund all their programs and bags of hope. It’s also used as a ‘mobile classroom’ to teach families at school about healthy eating, provide and teach job skills to people in need, and is of course driven to various neighborhoods to give healthy food to families in need.
Peoples Truck – Atlanta, GA
Operated by City of Refuge, which mainly operates to support stability and sustainable development efforts to help the local community. The truck itself, with a menu developed by Chef Ford Fry, uses the profits from every meal purchased to feed those in need.
Snowday from Drive Change – New York, NY
Drive Change has taken its goal of training and providing job opportunities to formerly incarcerated youth, in an effort help them find work and keep out of prison, purely through the use of food trucks. Snowday is the first of their planned operations to hit the streets. On its own, the truck provides a tasty theme, serving food based around local maple syrup with ingredients sourced from local farms. A true ‘regional New York cuisine’ operation, with the kind of menu that gets us food truck-hipsters excited and drooling even without knowing about the charity aspect.
Merge Memphis – Memphis, TN
A really recent addition, coming in just this year, Merge serves up tasty grilled cheese sandwiches, using the revenue to help feed, clothe, and house the homeless. Run by volunteers, co-founder Sherry McClure took inspiration from her desire to open a non-profit restaurant with a homeless shelter after a food truck was donated to her organization.
The Chow Train – San Antonio, TX
Famous not just for her spotlight on Rachel Ray, but for the recent outcry over the situation of local police officers issuing a potential $2000 citation while feeding the homeless, which thankfully got dismissed. The Chow Train was founded in 2005 by Joan Cheever, focusing on serving hot, healthy, restaurant-quality meals from locally sourced produce to the hungry, homeless, and relief victims. Besides this, she has been an avid supporter of San Antonio’s many libraries as ‘food for the soul.’
You know what’s great about all of this? These seven trucks are only the beginning of the list of non-profit and charity-focused street vendors operating throughout the U.S. As more causes look to find ways to connect with people more, it’s clear to see that a good chunk of them turn to the ever-popular trend of working through food on wheels. With much dedication and good will, we all hope to affect the many positive changes possible in our communities as years go by.
If you’re looking to start up or add a food truck TO a non-profit organization, give us a ring to help with any and all questions or acquiring of food truck startup.