27th February 2015
by Mike Averill
Intrigued by the food trucks and the music coming from speakers outside the greenhouse at the Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus during lunchtime Thursday, Nelson Zavo decided to investigate.
What he found was a hot lunch to eat and fresh produce to take home and prepare for a meal with his 10-year-old child.
“This takes the worries out of dinner tonight,” he said. “Otherwise, I would have prepared something out of a can.”
Zavo, who is working on an associate’s degree in chemistry, had stumbled upon the official launch of Food on the Move.
The mobile food initiative is a collaboration of food and health experts and community partners to bring quality food into “food deserts” in economically challenged areas in order to combat hunger.
Thursday’s event was described as pay as your can — those who can afford to purchase a hot lunch and fresh produce are encouraged to do so, and those who can’t afford the cost don’t have to pay. It was the first of four Food on the Move events scheduled this spring at TCC Northeast.
“We want to widen the boundaries of our city by meeting a real need and letting people visit and connect in a neighborhood they normally would not be in,” said Taylor Hanson, founder of Community Partners Fund and the event’s organizer.
More than 120 people attended, getting lunch and fresh produce from a number of food trucks including the Dog House, T-Town Gourmet, Andolini’s and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma’s Mobile Eatery.
“This is a really good chance to bring the community together because as long as they don’t understand hunger we’ll never solve it,” said Eileen Bradshaw, executive director of the food bank.
The initiative’s partners include government, business and nonprofit entities working together, among them the Tulsa Health Department, R&G Family Grocers and the food bank.
The Food on the Move initiative’s pilot event also was held at TCC Northeast last year.
“We know hunger, food security and living in a food desert are very real challenges for a number of our students and their families,” said Mike Limas, director of academic and campus services at TCC Northeast. “For us, this is about community engagement and student success because when an individual knows how they will feed themselves and their families, then they can focus on their education and career opportunities.”
The plan is for Food on the Move to expand as the year goes on, with a goal of hosting events at as many as five locations.
“I think things like this should be done more often in different places,” Zavo said. “It helps me, but there are people it would really help even way more.”
Source: Tulsa World