Same City food truck offers free restaurant-quality dishes with a side of compassion
One of Fort Wayne’s newest food trucks, Same City food truck, is delivering more than just free Latin American-inspired dishes to people experiencing homelessness. Its chefs are also serving up a big side of compassion along with entrees like Peruvian fried chicken with a pineapple molasses syrup. Same City is the brainchild of Joshua Gale, executive director of Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network, the only local shelter providing emergency housing for homeless families.
Just Neighbors introduced the food truck this summer as part of the agency’s efforts to support and develop relationships with people who don’t have a place to sleep at night.
“What leads to homelessness in the first place is a disconnection with the community,” says Gale.
“Unless we’re building community, you really can’t solve the issue.”
That’s why case managers are part of the menu offered by Same City. When the food truck visits locations frequented by homeless individuals and families, everyone gets a restaurant-quality meal as well as access to a case manager, who can connect them to resources for everything from shelter to mental health counseling.
But you don’t have be homeless to enjoy the Same City offerings. Everyone is welcome and asked to pay for only what they can afford. During a recent visit to a local church, Gale watched as people from all walks of life stood in line for some of the tasty tacos and pork belly sandwiches.
“Unsheltered folks come to the truck and get the exact same food that people are paying money for,” says Gale. “It’s messy and I love it because they’re standing in line together and seeing that they are equal. Everybody’s human and everyone needs to eat.”
The concept of a shared humanity is why the truck is named Same City.
“The homeless don’t live in tent cities, they live in your city and there’s a unity in that when you realize you’re sharing the same space. What is our obligation to others that are sharing the same space?” says Gale.
The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation recently invested in the Same City food truck with a small grant to support its operations.
“We are always excited when we see innovative solutions to addressing needs such as food and shelter,” said Meg Distler, executive director of the Foundation. “The Same City philosophy of respecting the dignity and humanity of all people is a perfect fit with the values of our sponsor, The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. This religious order of sisters places a priority on reaching out with compassion to all those who face struggles.”
Anyone looking to support the food truck, or just get a taste of its cuisine, should visit www.ihnfamily.org and click on the food truck tab.