Providing quality food for all is the mission of The Social Food Truck, ADRA’s innovative and award-winning social enterprise in Belgium.
By day, the food truck serves delicious vegetarian street food to the general population of Brussels. By night, it seeks out the city’s most vulnerable and ensures they are served too.
On a flyer for the food truck, three phrases are included that capture the heart of the project: Eat Good, Do Good, and Feel Good.
When we say that the customers of The Social Food Truck are eating “good,” we mean they are eating healthy and balanced vegetarian meals with a focus on local and organic ingredients. The truck’s recipes are inspired by the concepts of vegetarian street food and have even managed to win over customers who were skeptical of the vegetarian menu!
“In the beginning, the risk that people wouldn’t like the veggie street food concept was real,” laughed Zoe, Communication and Fundraising Officer for ADRA in Belgium. “This is why we worked hard in making our recipes tasty and visually appealing. It seems to be working because, so far, we haven’t gotten any negative feedback about the food we serve.”
Regular customers seem especially fond of the Ambitious Burger, which is the food truck’s signature veggie burger served with a special sauce and crispy onions. The team notes the veggie hot dog is pretty popular too.
In Belgium, 1 in 5 people lives in poverty. When ADRA launched The Social Food Truck in August, it was because they recognized that they needed to “do good” in a new way to meet the growing challenges of poverty-driven food insecurity.
The project also aims to do good for our planet. The truck is also a zero-waste enterprise, utilizing only biodegradable materials for the food truck’s packaging, and the carbon emissions of the truck are offset via agriculture projects in Belgium.
Every person who purchases a meal from The Social Food Truck is taking part in the fight against hunger and encouraging sustainable practices, so feeling good goes beyond the nourishment they receive from healthy meals.
It’s important that the beneficiaries of the project also walk away from The Social Food Truck with a good feeling too, which means ADRA’s team puts dignity at the forefront of their priorities.
“The food we serve is the same both in commercial and social activities,” said Zoe. “This is something that can sometimes be surprising to people, but there is no difference between the meals. We also give the opportunity to the beneficiaries to pay for their food or have it for free. They can pay however much they can afford or want to give. They don’t have to, but we give them the opportunity as human beings, to pay for the food they eat. Both of those aspects are part of our notion of respect and human dignity.“
The positive response hasn’t just been from those who buy or receive meals from The Social Food Truck. The project led to an award for 2022’s Most Innovative Non-Profit Organization for ADRA’s team in Belgium!
“Don’t be afraid to dream of something different,” said Zoe. “Nobody ever knows what the future opportunities will be and what they will look like. This project was born from some slightly crazy idea and little by little, it became reality. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box!”