Volunteers needed as Feeding America food truck grows in popularity

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - As the Feeding America Southwest Virginia food truck grows in popularity, organizers are looking for more volunteers to help keep the success going. 

The setup with this food truck and others is almost exactly the same. Both inside and out, the Café to Grow foodie truck looks just like any other food truck. The main difference, the meal service from this truck is free. 

The 18-foot long concession trailer makes four stops a week, delivering more than 300 fresh and healthy meals for kids in Roanoke City.

Right now, when schools in session they are scheduled visits at Preston Park and the Jackson Park Library on Monday evenings. There are also stops at the Eureka Park Recreation Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia on Thursdays.

Kids attending the afterschool programs at those locations are all eligible for the free dinner, as well as other kids in the neighborhoods where the food truck stops.

“As we look at innovation and more progressive programs to reach those that we know don’t have adequate meal opportunities, this is a great way to be able to do that,” says Pamela Irvine, the president and CEO of Feeding America Southwest Virginia. “It does take several volunteers a day to operate the food trunk, which was a learning experience for us in the summer and for the afterschool program as well.“

Instead of only having one option or receiving a pre-made boxed meal, the food truck allows the kids to make their own decision, often choosing between two different menu options.

When we made a visit last week, students could pick either meatloaf and mashed potatoes or a meatloaf sandwich. Other options often include a chicken sandwich or chicken salad and those who work the truck say taco nights are always a big hit.

Irvine says giving these kids a chance to make their own decision is something many of them look forward to each visit.

“It was designed so that children would have a great experience,“ she says. “They wouldn’t necessarily focus on coming up and needing a meal, but they will be able to come up to the window and get a meal there twice and have fun with that.”

Feeding America Southwest Virginia is looking for volunteers who can help with everything from kitchen prep and cooking to delivering and serving the food on site as well.

For details on how to volunteer, click here.
 

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