Food trucks have become quite a trend. There are food truck races on television, websites dedicated to where food trucks are parked for the day and even food truck festivals. I was excited when a local food truck made a trip to the parking lot of the suburban office building I work at for a special food drive event. Today’s organization is also using a food truck to make a difference.
In 2005 and 2006 Vince, Lisa and Taylor Scarpinato were volunteering around their community, but always left feeling a deeper calling. In September of 2006, a family friend and local elementary school principal, Dennis Cagle, came over for dinner and shared stories of hungry children. One second grade girl went through the school cafeteria and picked up discarded half-eaten foods from other children. The principal went on to share that many children receive breakfast and lunch from the schools, but go hungry on the weekends. That night, the family decided to start a non-profit and Kitchen on the Street was born.
The mission of Kitchen on the Street is “Turning Hunger into Hope”. They fulfill this mission through several programs. The first program they started was Bags of Hope; backpacks of individually portioned, shelf stable meal and snack foods for children to eat on the weekends. In their first year, they served 30 children through the Bags of Hope program and have since expanded to serve many more. The organization also partners with local growers, community gardens, and food banks to distribute fresh produce to families in need through their Fresh Food Distribution program. They collaborate with local schools, churches, and community centers on events where low income families receive free fresh produce.
The newest program is the Kitchen on the Street Food Truck. This truck is a traveling kitchen that feeds people, raises awareness, acts as a mobile classroom and helps raise funds for the Bags of Hope program. The truck was purchased from a $100,000 grant provided by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The truck is used to teach families about food and nutrition and to teach job skills to adults in need. The truck also travels to a variety of locations and special events as a catering business that feeds money back into the other Kitchen on the Street Programs.
The video below talks more about the impacts of childhood hunger and how Kitchen on the Street is making a difference:
How can you help?
- Become a fan on Facebook or subscribe to their e-news to receive notifications of volunteer opportunities with Kitchen on the Street such as backpack packing events, fresh food handouts, and a variety of other tasks.
- You can volunteer or participate in the annual Hike for Hunger to raise awareness of childhood hunger.
- You can also make a monetary donation through the Kitchen on the Street website by clicking the donate button.