Continued growth planned for Ann Arbor food truck tackling food insecurity

Continued growth planned for Ann Arbor food truck tackling food insecurity

ANN ARBOR, MI– FedUp Ministries Food Truck has grown quickly since its grand opening in July, said the Rev. Anna Taylor-McCants, co-founder and soon to be director.

The food truck serves as a way for the ministry to tackle food insecurity by providing low-cost and free nutritious meals — both to those who need them and those who want to donate to their cause.

For Taylor-McCants, the food truck is a way to go beyond the church walls and get into the community regardless of religion, she said.

“The only way we’re going to survive this pandemic is to get outside the walls of our institutions and be with people in the world,” she said. “And so that really is the heart of FedUp, is like so that we can be where the people are.”

Taylor-McCants also has what she calls her heart in the food truck.

“My people are on the street and my people are people who don’t feel like they fit in the church,” she said.

The food truck is also run through a collaboration between Food Gatherers, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Southeast Michigan Synod, the Southeast Michigan Synod and King of Kings Lutheran Church of Ann Arbor.

The idea for it started about a year ago. Since its opening in July, it has served about 1,500 meals, Taylor-McCants said.

There are two models for the food truck, she said. One option is the free meal model and the other is the “pay as you can” model, but no cash is exchanged at the window.

“(Donators) either go to give online or we do sometimes at some of our paid events have a card meter that we use, but we never take any money at the window because we don’t ever want (people) to feel like they have to present or exchange cash in order to eat with us,” Taylor-McCants said.

The food truck is meant to be a place to mingle, not for people in need to feel like they’re in a “line for a hand out,” Taylor-McCants said. Orders are taken by volunteers approaching people to give it a more personal touch.

By providing a variety of nutritious meals, the food truck hopes to be accessible to everyone and also offers vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options.

And it isn’t a get-what-you-get free meal either, Taylor-McCants said. Patrons can choose all of their toppings for tacos, sandwiches, salads and more.

“People who are financially exploited have the same taste buds that people who have lots of money have,” Taylor-McCants said.

So the truck’s tasty meals are made to their customers’ liking, she said.

The truck’s purpose is to help the community regardless of religion. Run on a volunteer basis, at least half of its volunteers aren’t affiliated with the church, she said.

“For some reason, God, the universe, the holy spirit just keeps showing us we’re on the right path because we keep getting so many amazing people that I never imagined would want anything to do with this,” Taylor-McCants said.

The food truck is in phase two of its three phase plan. Phase one included getting the food truck started and phase two includes creating a set schedule of multiple meal sites for consistent meals.

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