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It’s comfort food, on wheels.
Dom Tesoriero, the owner of Mac Truck, a food truck that rolls through New York serving mac and cheese with savory bites like barbecue pulled pork and buffalo chicken, lost his business catering private events that have been canceled through June as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Now he’s thinking of ways to bring in new revenue while doing some good in the process.
“Until there’s a vaccine or people feel safe, my business will be pretty impacted, but I’m in it for the long haul,” Tesoriero told FOX Business. “I can either sit here with my head in my hands or figure out how to sell my product.”
On Wednesday, Tesoriero’s Mac Truck will be stationed at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, which has been transformed into a field hospital being run by the U.S. National Guard to take in patients with COVID-19 in order to open up more space at hospitals across the city, an epicenter for the coronavirus where more than 100,000 people have tested positive.
It’s all part of New York Food Truck Association’s COVID-19 effort to park food trucks like Tesoriero’s outside of hospitals to provide free meals, coffee and snacks to front-line health care workers. The initiative started at NYU Langone hospital and has raised more than $16,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.
Donated funds raised through its #FrontlineFoodTrucks campaign will pay for food truck staffers, food costs and other supplies. And health care workers will get free meals, a necessity with cafeterias closed and few nearby restaurants open for them to access food between shifts.
“Our goal is to have dozens of our member food trucks rotating between 5 to 10 hospital locations to feed tens of thousands of frontline medical staff every week for as long as this crisis continues,” the NYFTA said on its Go Fund Me page.
Tesoriero has already received an influx of support from food fans.
“I got an email today from a lady saying, ‘We’d like to feed 300 people a day for the next week.’ It’s fantastic. It’s one of those things where everybody wins,” Tesoriero said. “We’re not trying to make money, just enough to get our staff out. I’m trying to keep the lights on here in my commissary.”
Small business owners working at restaurants and in food service across the country are having a hard time grappling financially with the coronavirus causing closures across the country. And food trucks are hit particularly hard with an estimated 30 to 40 percent of them shutting down temporarily or permanently as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to National Food Truck Association estimates as reported by the trade magazine Restuarant Hospitality.
Food truck owners and Oak Ridge residents Eddie Chavez and Lissette Rivas are cooking and delivering meals to seniors who have been urged to stay home since the disease poses a higher risk to them.
“Rather than just be upset and just sit at home upset and depressed, we said, you know, we have this food, we have all this meat that we can prep and use instead of letting it go to waste and throwing it away,” Chavez told FOX Business.