By Contributor | 9News
A US food truck is serving up delicious street food with a twist – a side of life-changing opportunity for young people with tainted pasts.
Non-profit Drive Change, hires formerly incarcerated youth to work in award winning New York-based food truck Snowday.
The food truck is loved for its grilled cheese sandwiches which are served oozing with maple syrup, as well as its farm-fresh homemade fare.
“We hire, teach and empower young people who are coming home from the criminal justice system,” Jordyn Lexton, founder of Drive Change, told Pix 11.
Young people between the ages of 17 to 25, who have just come out of the criminal justice system, are eligible for year-long paid fellowships, which consist of three phases.
“A felony conviction is like the ultimate black eye,” Roy Waterman, director of engagement at Drive Change, told Pix 11.
“No matter how many years pass by it’s always on your record.”
In the first phase, fellows earn US$9 an hour and obtain all their necessary food and mobile vendor licenses, under the mentorship of Drive Change coaches.
The next phase sees a pay rise to US$11, with the fellows learning how to manage the truck from top to bottom – including cooking, customer service and management.
They also undertake professional courses in social media, money management, marketing, and small business development.
In the final phase, fellows then work at another placement for four months while continuing their courses.
Drive Change continues to pay their wages throughout each phase.
“We’re transparent about what we’re doing,” Mr Lexton told Pix 11.
“We believe that by having this really positive interaction at our truck, we might actually help to dispel some of the preconceived notions that people have about what is means to be formerly incarcerated.”
Many of Drive Change’s fellows have now secured jobs in restaurants and catering companies.
The truck will be travelling all around New York City in the summer months.