Mobile businesses unite for hunger relief effort
Unless you’re hunting for them, food trucks can be like exotic jungle animals — spotted alone, and sometimes unexpectedly, in their natural habitat (among hoards of hungry people).
But Food Truck Tuesday could change all that. By giving trucks a semi-permanent place to park in a fleet — a Food Truck Court of sorts — hungry diners will know at least one place each week to find them without having to stalk. B.J. Lofback of Riffs Fine Street Food wrangled the food truck community to the parking lot of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee this week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Food Truck Tuesday, which he plans to hold each week at the food bank. Ten percent of truck sales go to the hunger relief organization’s Mobile Pantry Program.
While Lofback began with three trucks this week — Happy Eating, Labor of Love and his own truck — he plans to add trucks to the roster as the event continues through September. Next week, for example, Grilled Cheeserie will participate, among others.
“B.J. reached out to me personally because I’m a foodie and have fallen in love with the food truck scene,” said Ally Parsons, marketing coordinator for Second Harvest.
Riffs Fine Street Food customer David Shearer is a fan of the community, too. But he lives in Sylvan Heights and doesn’t find food trucks in his neighborhood often. He works, however, at HealthSpring near Second Harvest in MetroCenter, where there traditionally haven’t been many lunch options, he said.
But these food-truck customers learned on Tuesday, they should act fast by arriving early. By noon, about 60 people waited and all three trucks were beginning to run out of food.
“I don’t think any of them ever expected this large of a turnout,” Parsons said.
But the cumulative effect of money spent on Tuesday could “really be a great thing,” she added.
At a table inside Second Harvest’s Culinary Arts Center, four people feasted on fare from around the world — a Philly cheesesteak and Italian ice from Labor of Love; gyoza (vegetable dumplings), sweet potato fries, ice cream mochi (rice cakes filled with ice cream) and a Japanese lemon soda from Happy Eating; and four blackened fish tacos with two waters from Riffs Fine Street Food. The total came to $36 — that’s $3.60 to Second Harvest, which can provide four meals per dollar.