Spin Me Right Round

In Eat, May 2021, Web Exclusive by Anna BresciaLeave a Comment

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WEB EXCLUSIVE The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle serves up nutritious hot meals while giving back to the community through its new food truck.

“Hunger is unacceptable no matter when, where or why it happens,” says Inter-Faith Food Shuttle President and CEO Ron Pringle. So why—with North Carolina being one of the leading states in agriculture—is it that our state is the 10th hungriest in the U.S.? Currently, 1 in 5 children in The Old North State are at risk for hunger, and 9% of NC seniors experience food insecurity. And the pandemic is only making matters worse. While those are indisputably concerning stats, fortunately, a plethora of organizations are dedicated to spin that data around.

Enter Inter-Faith Food Shuttle’s new food truck: The Spinning Plate, a state-of-the-art mobile kitchen serving up nutritious hot plates (think homestyle chili over rice, spaghetti and hearty meatball subs—all of which incorporate fruits and veggies from the Food Shuttle Farm) while providing hands-on education and paid work experience for unemployed/underemployed individuals who want to pursue a career in the food industry via the food shuttle’s Culinary Apprenticeship Program. So, a win-win for the entire community.

In addition to its ability to give back to so many, the truck is capable of serving up just about anything. While “most food trucks are designed around a menu,” says IFFS Director of Culinary and Catering Jim Hinger, “I designed The Spinning Plate to have a variety of ways to cook things. We have an industrial rice cooker on board, a char grill, a flattop griddle, a stovetop, an oven, a steam table and a warming cabinet. It can do everything.” 

Since launching in early April, The Spinning Plate has served over 5,000 free meals at community outreach events in all of the seven counties served by the food shuttle (Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, Johnston, Nash and Edgecombe). The truck is also designed to be on the frontlines in disaster situations in order to feed responders, volunteers, or those facing natural or man-made catastrophes across the region.

“The seed for The Spinning Plate was planted back in 2019, when we were discussing how we could reach rural communities and how to get them the food they needed,” says Hinger. Hence, the mobile aspect of it—an immediate solution to an immediate problem.

“We envision a healthy and hunger-free North Carolina,” adds IFFS Business, Corporations and Events Manager Rachel Quigley, “and The Spinning Plate is one of our new programs that is really serving our communities in an innovative way.” Be sure to give it a whirl the next time you see the colorful truck hit the streets in order to feed yourself—and those in need.

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