An innovative food truck in North County San Diego is known for both its nutritious food and its charitable mission. That mission is to provide nutritious meals to support healthy aging and wellness for vulnerable seniors in Vista and San Marcos. A recent U-T San Diego article and video highlight the North County Senior Connections food truck program. Here we provide our menu for a food truck with a mission.
Menu for a Food Truck with a Mission
We started with a needs assessment study by the Caster Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research at the University of San Diego. We wanted to better understand the food and transportation needs of the vulnerable senior population in North County San Diego. The study found that the seniors benefit most from a combined food and social time and that transportation is a key issue in the North County region. The report recommended that we “bring the food to the seniors” via a food truck.
The food truck, named Thyme Together, serves up nutritious lunches for $2.00 daily, Monday through Thursday (except holidays), at two faith centers and two mobile home parks in Vista and San Marcos. The North County Senior Connections program also promotes social time for the seniors and an educational or recreational activity. See the menu and locations here.
Three nonprofit organizations blend their unique approaches to addressing community needs to create North County Senior Connections.
- The Rancho Santa Fe Foundation will provide a $300,000 multi-year grant to fund the food truck, staff, and subsidies for the meals. Collaborative support from other foundations, businesses, and individuals will provide the remaining funding for the $750,000 cost of the program over three years.
- Dreams for Change purchased the food truck and handles the nutrition research, menu options, and food preparation.
- Interfaith Community Services (ICS) provides a program manager to arrange for educational and recreational programs at the lunch sites. A case manager is also available to refer and connect seniors to information about additional services they may need, many provided by ICS.
We top off the menu with the great results we are seeing already. The goal of North County Seniors Connections was to serve 200 new seniors in the first six months; in just the first 6 weeks, nearly 200 seniors (some attending each week) have purchased lunches from the finest San Diego food truck with a mission.