Note this update from the PFC, which was posted after this story went to print:
Thanks to the amazing generosity of Thomas Williams and the Hintonburger team, the Reverse Food Truck will remain in business until the end of August. Come see us Monday, Wednesday and Saturday 4-8pm. Bring dairy, fruits and vegetables or toiletries. And don’t forget… we always take cash!”
A Reverse Food Truck at the Hintonburger is putting a philanthropic spin on the popular food truck trend. Instead of offering food, they are asking for it.
People can drop off donations of perishable and non-perishable food, as well as other essentials like toothbrushes, soap and toilet paper. Everything donated goes to the Parkdale Food Centre (PFC), the food bank that serves Hintonburg, Mechanicsville, Civic Hospital and Wellington West.
“We wanted to raise awareness for the Parkdale Food Centre and offer a more central location for drop-offs,” says Thomas Williams, owner of the Hintonburger. The restaurant has donated the use of their 5-wheeler truck and set it up beside their restaurant at 1096 Wellington Street West.
The Reverse Food Truck has been operating since July 18 and will continue Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., until August 9.
“Right now it’s a pilot project,” says Williams, although he and PFC Executive Director Karen Secord hope to make it a permanent fixture.
Williams explains that as a restaurant owner, helping the PFC is a natural fit.
“It’s important to give people access to high quality, nutritious food,” says Williams.
He and others connected with the PFC have been working to change people’s perceptions of the kind of donations needed at food banks.
“It’s important for people to know that we will take fresh food,” says Willams. Dairy, eggs, meat and garden produce are all enthusiastically received and passed on to clients.
“[The Reverse Food Truck] is a great opportunity to share with people what we are doing,” says Secord.
She says the response from the community has been positive. People drop by with donations of produce from their gardens and food from their cupboards, and since the truck is located across from the Giant Tiger store, some neighbours have been purchasing toiletries and other items that clients often need.
The Food Centre serves over 750 clients each month, up from 600 the year before. Located on 89 Stonehurst, it not only provides emergency food, but also offers cooking classes and workshops so that clients can make healthy meals on a tight budget.
Sue Hall is a nutritionist who volunteers in the PFC kitchen. “I’ve talked to clients about how they feel with healthier food and they notice a difference,” she says. “Good food helps them with their whole outlook on life.”
Hall says it has been great to see the community support, and that donations of healthy food will help PFC clients access the nutrition they need.
“It really comes down to education and working together,” she says. “It’s important to give [our clients] the best that we can.”
For more information visit parkdalefoodcentre.org.