Sacramento Reverse Food Truck
By Laura Braden
Essentially, reverse food trucks collect quality food from local farmers markets and donate/deliver the food to local hunger relief organizations. Sacramento is now home to one, aptly named: Sacramento Reverse Food Truck (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Launched in May 2015 by Richard (Real Estate and Sacramento native) and Zoey (Pediatrician) Goore, the SRFT wants to “put hunger in the rearview.” Commendable considering 1 in 5 people in Sacramento County is living in poverty, and 1 in 4 are children. What’s more, according to their website, our local food banks estimate that there is a deficit of 15,000lb of fresh produce each month for our community.
SRFT is a labor of love for Richard and Zoey – a volunteer project that they squeeze in during their free time. I caught up with them recently to get more details on the project – and how Sacramentans can help the cause!
How and why did you start SRFT?
Zoey: As a Pediatrician, I’m unfortunately seeing the effects of poverty on the health of our community’s children. I was coming home in the evenings telling my family about what I had learned and how our community is suffering. Richard heard a story on the radio about a food truck in Minnesota that was collecting food to address hunger in their community. It’s been successful, there but they only collect non-perishables and money. We thought that in one of the most prolific produce communities in the country, there shouldn’t be people in our community who don’t have access to fresh, healthy food… So we set out to do our part to address this need.
How does SRFT work?
We bring the truck to local events to collect fresh or non-perishable healthy food or monetary donations. We’ve been to farmer’s markets where we encourage market patrons to buy MORE from the farmers and donate the “extra”. This way the farmers win too! We’re happy to participate in community harvest events, food drives at schools, work, religious centers, or wherever – we’re also open to community ideas and volunteers.
What sort of food are you aiming to collect?
Any and all things healthy!
Beyond actual survival, how does hunger hurt individuals and the community at large?
People living in hunger are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, they’re more likely to be hospitalized for their illnesses and more likely to be obese (forced to eat high calorie low nutrient foods). Children living in hunger are less likely to be successful in school, more likely to miss school and more likely to drop out of school and not be successful adults. Parents living in hunger are more likely to, at worst, abuse their children and at least, more likely to experience a level of stress that inadvertently creates stress in their children. Brain development can actually change when children are exposed to early life stress. These brain changes not only persist for the children, they persist in children’s genes for GENERATIONS (epigenetics).
What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned through the process?
How hard it is to do a good thing. Trying to convince people that we want to help has been harder then we ever imagined. To put it in child terms, we play nicely with others and are happy to collaborate with anyone who has our same objectives in mind: help Sacramentans who need it.
Favorite thing about Sacramento? Favorite (regular) food truck?
Our favorite thing about Sacramento is all the fresh produce! We don’t have one favorite regular food truck but we’d be happy to bring our truck to a food truck event (to collect non-perishables or tax deductible monetary donations) and try everything! For example: if there’s an “address hunger” food truck event where people bring a small bag of non-perishables or donate $10 and could get a coupon for say $1 off at one of the food trucks that would be great! We’d be happy to make the coupons if the other food trucks would honor them.
^^^ Really digging this idea… ^^^ Any food trucks up for a partnership?!?!
In my opinion, the whole concept is a win-win-win for the community: it provides fresh/local food to those who need it most, it educates the public on food insecurities and provides a mini-boost to the local farmers-market-economy.