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Anarchist Love Train…update

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : April 28, 2007

A while back I mentioned that we want to have a sort of “mobile soup kitchen.” I talked to my good friend Dave (who is a chef, caterer, and welder) about different options. Basically, he said the cheapest way to build our own sort of food trailer would be to bolt down a set of portable propane burners on a trailer, along with other equipment (coolers, storage, and counter space). Using this method, we could heat up a couple giant pots of some sort of stew or soup and serve lots of people. To build this and get all the equipment needed would be 1000 bucks.

Another option would be to get something like a hot dog stand on a trailer. These basically come equipped with a propane grill (which I think we could turn into a griddle if needed) a water sink (for washing hands and utensils) and some heating trays. This would be best used for preparing things on the spot…but would be best for cooking smaller batches repeatedly (unlike the previous approach which would involve cooking it all in advance and then keeping it heated as we go around). I actually prefer this approach, because less food will be wasted and there is less chance of food going bad since you’d cook it in batches. And with a sink, we’d be able to wash our hands regularly. The down side is that this set up (for a used food cart) would probably run around 2200 bucks.

This is an economic stretch for Missio Dei, but we’ll find a way to make it work. The reason I share this with y’all is because I think it is a great idea that others should copy. Make food, go to the places with lots of people (especially homeless folks) and start giving food away to whoever want some. Maybe you could bring musicians or performers with and set up a mini fair or show while people line up for food. Make it fun. Feed people. Meet people. Soup kitchen done missionally.

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Comments

5 Responses to “Anarchist Love Train…update”

  1. espiritu paz on April 29th, 2007 10:05 pm

    Look into the legal permits for this thing before you do it. The city council will have some things to say about code for mobile food carts. There was a well publicized case of the Ponces who sell the best tacos in town out of their Mi Pueblito cart here on the east side. The city made them comply to a code which cost them a lot of money, which then caused them to violate a suddenly dormant code. Then there were things such as you can’t run a generator because it makes too much noise and you have to have your license posted. Have Amy chat with the Ponces.
    I talked to the Ponces soon after reading about their impossible situation in the paper and evidently they had lawyers calling them wanting to represent them for nothing in a case that was model institutional racism. Unfortunately for you, I don’t think you can pull that card out. Unless of course, you put Carmen in the cart. :0

  2. markvans on April 29th, 2007 10:13 pm

    I’ve looked into it a bit. There is some flexibility under the Good Samaritan laws. If we are giving food away for free, then there aren’t the same sort of issues. This is what allows different groups that feed the poor to do so without a permit. And groups like the “Jesus Kitchen” have been giving out rice for a few years without a permit and without incident.

  3. espiritu paz on April 30th, 2007 10:03 pm

    Cool that’s awesome.

  4. Heidi Renee on May 12th, 2007 4:38 am

    Hi there, this is a beautiful idea - it is very close to my heart. I am on the opposite coast trying to do this in a more rural setting. We have tons of rural poor with no community - each little area has a tiny little church - but no kitchens - so are praying about a mobile kitchen and I came across this that just happens to be about 3 hours from us:

    Mobile1Moncton

    I know it’s a bit more expensive than your original plan - but I thought you might like to have a big dream to shoot for like we are. They even have a small seating area and toilet facility.

    You will be in my prayers from so very far away.

  5. Heidi Renee on May 12th, 2007 4:44 am

    Looks like my comment got eaten??

    I’m on the far east coast of Canada trying to do a similar thing. We have so many rural poor that we’re trying to figure out a way to both feed them and create some community. These areas have little old church buildings - but no kitchen - so we’re trying to figure out a way to take the food to them.

    I have been doing a lot of research and the best I’ve been able to find just happens to be only about 3 hours away from me in Moncton:

    I know it’s more than your budget calls for - but if you were interested in partnering with the Red Cross or a local food bank I think you’d find some deeper pockets?? Just a thought.

    You’ll be in my prayers (and I LOVE the name!!)

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