VERO BEACH — The Source’s new Dignity Food Truck that hit the road earlier this month as a training opportunity for the homeless has a new mission.
At 6 a.m. Tuesday, the food truck and a pickup stuffed with food and essential supplies headed to Pensacola to help homeless and hungry people struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sally.
The trip is expected to take 10 hours. Three staff members and a culinary student chef will deliver supplies to the hard-hit Panhandle.
“I received a call from a friend Saturday morning letting me know the dire situation in Escambia County, one of the hardest hit areas of Pensacola,” said Tony Zorbaugh, executive director of The Source. “Many lost their homes and are now living out of their cars or being housed with friends, neighbors or makeshift housing in downtown area.”
Zorbaugh will be working with Chris Larsen, the associate pastor of Myrtle Baptist Church, to distribute the needed food, water and supplies to severely hit areas of the county, including the Wedgewood and Bristol Park neighborhoods.
“I plan to escort Tony and his staff with the Dignity Food Truck to these neighborhoods to be sure everyone has a chance to get to eat,” said Larsen. “We still have many people without power in our more severely hit areas of the county but to see everyone pulling together to get us up and running is encouraging.”
Pensacola residents will be fed a hot breakfast, lunch and dinner from the food truck, thanks to some monetary contributions made to The Source specifically for this purpose.
“We will be cooking everything from our truck and we plan to make meals like spaghetti and meatballs and turkey and mashed potatoes,” said Zorbaugh. “While some community stores like Walmart have reopened, it’s been difficult for residents to find fresh items like dairy especially, so we will try our best to fill that need.”
The Dignity Food Truck, operating for only a few weeks, has been a big hit with Vero Beach residents.
Hungry patrons can log onto an app to see where the food truck is located that day and find out the specials. The program provides culinary training for the homeless and allows students to get hands-on training with real customers.
The ultimate goal is full-time employment within the food and restaurant industry.
“The vision of The Source, a Christian Outreach Ministry, is to transform lives in our community or in this case, wherever duty calls,” said Zorbaugh. “We are thankful to be in the position to have access to a means to feed people who are hungry and in many cases homeless, and make them feel like it is not all hopeless.
"We may be housed in Vero Beach but our hearts and able bodies are going wherever we’re needed, in this case, it’s Pensacola.”
But the mission to help in Pensacola will not cause the Dignity Food Truck to be off the road in Vero Beach for very long.
“We will return on Friday evening tired, but we plan to return to our regular schedule of activities throughout Indian River County on Saturday morning,” said Zorbaugh. “Because that is what we do and we don’t want to disappoint the community.”
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