Take Out Hunger campaign deploys food truck
Salvation Army in Canada partners with local restaurants, churches, businesses to feed 75 to 115 people a night.
By Brianne Schaer –
Not all food trucks have a gimmick and a high price tag.
The Salvation Army in Canada serves up a variety of meals to people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless on its outreach food truck in the Niagara region.
The food truck is part of the Take Out Hunger campaign, which started last July in Welland and Port Colborne, Ontario, to provide a warm meal and other essentials such as sleeping bags, gloves, toiletries, and socks to people in need.
“The clients that come will build a rapport with the workers/volunteers and start to trust them so that eventually when they are in a time of crisis, or if they are currently on the streets, they can look to them to get help or better their situation, whatever that may be,” said Emily Bowman, mobile outreach worker.
The Niagara Mobile Outreach Program (NMOP) operates six days a week through donations from local restaurants, churches, businesses, and clubs.
“With our food truck, our clients never know what they’re going to get,” Bowman said. “They get really excited about the variety and they see that their community is trying its best to support them.”
Tanja Schulz, owner of Harvey’s Port Colborne, donated two nights worth of food to the program.
“I liked the idea that people could count on the food truck coming every Tuesday to their area,” she said. “It sounded like an easy way for me to help out the community where needed.”
While a number of clients have been connected to further assistance through the NMOP, it has also provided an opportunity for volunteer service in the community.
“This truck is a unique ministry that allows us to reach out to people that would not come to a social services ministry during the day,” said Greg Warkentin of the Ontario Great Lakes Division. “Not only do we need the restaurants but we need the people who serve on the truck on a regular basis. We really appreciate the volunteer’s time who serve the food that we pick up at the restaurants.”