Food trucks provide mobile storm relief
by Andrew Pavia
Nov 20, 2012 | 1036 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While many in Red Hook still don't have heat or electricity, they are getting hot food free of charge. Food trucks line the blocks surrounding Coffey Park, where many wait on line for a meal that brings them a little closer to what life was like before Hurricane Sandy devastated the area.

Time Warner sponsored the food trucks for a full week, distributing 500 meals per truck each day throughout the most devastated areas.

Oleg Voss owns Schnitzel & Things, a food truck that has been ranked one of New York's best food trucks. When Time Warner was planning the campaign, Voss received the call and said that he was excited about the concept.

Even before the cable company approached Voss, he was working with the city to donate his services. The cable company's food truck initiative ended last Friday, but Voss wants to keep on giving and hopes he can get the same response from city government that he had before Time Warner stepped in.

“We hope that the mayor will continue to provide funding for food trucks to go out to other devastated areas, because things don't just stop after tomorrow,” he said. “Saturday and Sunday people will still need food, and Thanksgiving is coming up.”

Time Warner also hired people to be “brand ambassadors” for the food truck initiative, recruited from various modeling agencies. Their job was to reach out to the community and speak to them about their needs.

One of the models, Dominique Claire, was standing in front of the Schnitzel & Things food truck last Thursday, and said that the experience changed her. Spending days outside in the cold with people who have to walk up and down 16 floors to get hot food to take back to their ice-cold residences made her realize what's really important.

“No one is getting their hair or nails done,” she said. “No one is worried about where the nearest Starbucks is.

“And it's not just about food,” added Claire, explaining that she has witnessed people bonding and helping each other while waiting for food.

One of the Red Hook residents waiting on line was Rivera. “I've spent 15 days in a dark and cold apartment,” said Rivera, who asked that she only be referred to by her last name.

When asked what her day was like, she said that she was waiting at Schnitzel & Things for a hot meal and then waiting on line at a church close by to get free cleaning supplies. Rivera lost everything and said she has to spend the next few days just cleaning her apartment before she can begin to live her life normally again.

She said she “has no faith in the authorities,” and is fearful that Red Hook will have to be evacuated in order for the city to rebuild the area.

While Rivera was glad to get a free hot meal she said, “what we really need is heat and electricity.”
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