I received an email from Tracy Peacock, Executive Director of St. Vinnie’s here in Pierce County. I’ve known Tracy for about twenty years. We met in Rotary. Her father was a Rotarian also, so she grew up believing in helping the community.
Tracy said, “For those of you helping those in need with food requests, or have employees or friends in need, I’m excited to share information about an amazing program called HelpKitchen that is comprised of local restaurants in Tacoma providing FREE meals. The Help Kitchens operate out of Food Trucks in Pierce County. We have partnered with the Help Kitchen and one of the food truck’s serving 98409 zip code is located at St Vincent de Paul (4009 South 56th St., Tacoma, WA 98409). There are food trucks placed around Pierce County so persons in need are not limited to the 98409 zip code.”
We’re #3! Last April, HelpKitchen was launched in San Francisco at the beginning of the pandemic. The program was so successful that they opened a second operation in Detroit. In early September, Tacoma became the third city in the nation to host the program. “Food Banks are providing a lifeline for so many in need… but no one is prepared for the current scale of need. This is a long-term problem, needing a long term solution. Our local communities need overflow relief for the newly hungry. Restaurants represent a ready resource to fill the gap in food security. HelpKitchen aims to connect restaurants with those in need who may be missed by the existing relief organizations.”
HelpKitchen is a way for individuals or families to get hot meals, free of charge, without jumping through hoops to prove just how in need you are — just text to 253-215-8101 and enter the text “Find a Meal”. You will receive an instant response asking “how many in your family” and “zip code.” You can order up to a family of six and will be instructed to pick up your food at the designated site with a date and time. You must order 3 days in advance. And, you must wait 3 days between requests, but can continue to request food.
Tacoma started with four restaurants in the program: 3UILT, Doyle’s Public House, VK Viet Kitchen, and Wooden City, with more restaurants expected to join the project in the near future.
I stopped by St Vinnie’s and met Edward Gonzalez. His daughter Anna wanted to open a restaurant, so the two of the them started 3UILT (Built) in downtown Tacoma. They offer mostly sandwiches. The restaurant doesn’t have a hood in their commercial kitchen, so they are limited to what they can create. However, partnered with HelpKitchen they have a food trailer now, where they do have a hood. They have a limited menu posted . . . the “Super Bowl” looked really, really good. I’m ready to pay and try some of their downtown (21st and Jefferson) items. – 3uilt-tacoma-llc.square.site/
If you need assistance with food, please take advantage of this wonderful program. The food trucks or food trailers offer different food items, depending on the location. Edward shared that 3UILT is providing 120-150 meals a day from the St. Vinnie’s parking lot.
You may donate to the program here – helpkitchen.org/connect
You may also donate to St. Vinnie’s for their other programs (food, rent, utilities, gasoline, and more) designed to help our neighbors in Pierce County. – particular-council-of-tacoma-society-of-st-vincent-de-paul.square.site/