Nearly 1,000 free hot meals were handed out from a Salvation Army food truck in Terrace since May 13.
The Terrace Salvation Army partnered with the Kermode Friendship Society to give out free meals, snacks and drinks using approximately $7,000 in funding from BC Housing. The truck has been parked near the George Little House on Kalum St. on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The outdoor food truck format allowed the meals to be handed on the street while easily maintaining physical distancing guidelines. Now that pandemic restriction guidelines are easing, the program is coming to an end, with its last day being June 19.
As of June 16, the truck handed out 936 hot meals, 817 drinks and 161 snacks. The initiative was popular, used by homeless people and families in need, said Lt. Rick Apperson of the Terrace Salvation Army.
“The people seem to really be enjoying it, and we’ve had some good size crowds, fair numbers coming every day,” he told The Terrace Standard June 17. “When you’re getting 45, 50 [people,] it’s obviously serving a purpose.”
Apperson said the Salvation Army is looking at running a similar initiatives from its brick-and-mortar location on Kalum St. now that the food truck program is coming to an end.
Eli McMillan, housing support worker with the Kermode Friendship Society, has been at the food truck every day passing meals from the truck to clients in line.
“The biggest thing, especially for people that are at-risk, is the food, because even if you don’t have any mental health issues, three to six months of not having a proper diet, being malnourished, you will start having some serious mental health issues,” he said. “Everybody deserves to have something to eat.”
Apperson said that the partnership between the Salvation Army and the Kermode Friendship Society that blossomed from the food truck initiative was one of the primary blessings of the project.
“I met with Kermode this week and said ‘We want to keep that going, even when the food truck is down, how can we continue to work together on partnerships to not duplicate the wheel?’” he said, adding that the two organizations also partnered on a meal delivery service for seniors.
Michael Guangco, who cooked meals for the food truck program, said he is out of work because the restaurant he works at, Wings, is closed due to the pandemic. But he wanted to stay busy and help give back to the community.
“I just keep myself [busy] cooking for my friends, cooking here,” he said.