Last summer, Burke County Public Schools in Morganton, N.C., received a new food truck to aid the Chartwells K-12 nutrition team in distributing meals during the pandemic.
Its most recent job, however, has been providing food at a vaccine clinic held at one of the district’s high schools in partnership with Carolinas Health Care System Blue Ridge.
“Our food truck is new for us and our community so we wanted to get it out for everyone to see, and the shot clinic seemed like a great way to do that,” says Child Nutrition Director Daniel Wall.
The truck makes routine stops at the clinic and offers an easy, accessible meal for healthcare workers and volunteers running the clinic as well as those receiving the vaccine.
The truck’s menu centers around burgers, chicken sandwiches and hot dogs, and includes a selection of weekly specials as such as a Garlic Butter Mushroom Swiss Burger made with sauteed mushrooms, aged Swiss cheese and melted garlic butter.
Each meal comes with a drink and a side of pub chips. For those looking for lighter fare, the truck also serves a rotating list of salads and wraps.
Getting the word out
Currently, the truck visits the clinic twice a month. It has been a hit with guests, says Resident District Manager for Chartwells K12 Aaron Probst; however, sometimes people have trouble recognizing it.
“I think our biggest challenge right now is letting folks know that it is actually a food truck and we encourage them to buy food from us,” he says. “Since it's advertised as Burke County Public Schools, you know [people] are not sure if it's a mobile library classroom.”
The nutrition team is working to get word out about the truck on social media. The truck has its own Facebook pagewhich lists the menu for the week and where it is going to be located.
Planning for the future
Even after the vaccine clinic wraps up, the truck will still be out and about serving the community. The nutrition team hopes that it can travel to a different school in the district each week and offer students something different from the normal menu. “We want to use it as a monotony breaker at the schools,” says Probst.
Other ideas are to use it as a teaching kitchen and as a way for older students enrolled in the district’s cooking classes to get real-world experience.
“We definitely want to set up in Morganton or the surrounding communities as an actual food truck for the public,” says Probst. “The long-term goal for that avenue would be to involve students from the local high schools who are in the Foods 1 or the Foods 2 class and get them some actual, practical hands-on experience working in an actual setting.”