KARM’s Knoxville food truck will host events and serve the homeless
KARM is entering the Knoxville food truck scene with Urban Table, a for-profit company that will help fund the nonprofit’s community outreach programs, including providing meals to homeless people, poor or drug addicts.
The food truck, which launched in June, can serve food to up to 1,000 people a day from its 22-foot kitchen.
“He will host for-profit events such as food truck parks, weddings, private events,” said food service manager Liz Galloway. “But more important will be the outreach part. The funds generated from the for-profit side will all be reinvested into outreach.”
Knoxville Area Lifesaving Ministries is a non-profit organization that provides people with food and shelter, as well as programs designed to build life skills.
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Meal funding for people in need
With 27 years in the food industry, Galloway floated the idea of starting a food truck after then-CEO Burt Rosen asked team members to submit ideas on ways to expand KARM programs.
Work on the 27ft truck began in 2020 and lasted 22 months.
KARM will use the truck at for-profit events and awareness initiatives to fight food deserts in Knoxville. food deserts are areas that experience low availability of affordable and nutritious food. According to Eat Right Knox, there are 20 food desserts in Knoxville.
The food truck will also be set up in food truck parks, including the Central Gas Station, with a limited menu of twists on Southern classics.
The $6-$8 appetizers include the Southern eggroll, made with pulled pork, pinto beans and collard greens. The $10-$14 sandwich menu includes the grilled cheese waffle, made with savory cornbread and cheese waffles. The muffuletta includes three meats, three cheeses and an olive salad on focaccia bread.
KARM also plans to serve free meals from the food truck to people experiencing homelessness.
“Awareness will have its own weeknights, because in my heart, that’s what this truck is for,” Galloway said. “We can talk about profit all day, but obviously we’re a nonprofit and our heart and mission is what we do here on Broadway.”
Train future chefs in the truck
Along with outreach, Galloway plans to use the food truck as part of KARM’s culinary training program, which teaches people home and commercial cooking skills.
“It gives them a whole new training tool,” Galloway said. “So when they’re ready to leave for a job who can say, ‘I worked in the restaurant business. I worked on a food truck. I’ve made meals for up to 1,000 people a day. “”
KARM executives hope the food truck will be a “mobile billboard” to inform people about its programs.
Galloway is working the Urban Table rotation at Knoxville food truck parks and hopes to start serving there soon.
“I can really see this having a big positive impact in the winter because it’s one of the toughest times for us and the community,” said Outreach Director Pastor Mychal Spence.
Urban Table will soon launch social media pages. Until then it can be reserved by contacting 865-640-7258 or emailing [email protected].