By Alex Krutchik
Almost every day, we pass by a food truck. Whether it be on campus, a local park, or a carnival, the idea is the same: go up, order your food, pay for it, and receive what you ordered. But for six trucks across the United States and Canada, the process works in reverse. In Minnesota, Finnegans Reverse Food Truck takes in food donations to give out to the less fortunate.
In the land of fast-food, hot-dog eating contests, and notoriously large supermarket chains, many assume that the United States does not have a problem with hunger. Yet, nearly 13 million children in the US face difficulties in accessing food. The United States Department of Agriculture reported that in 2016 over 12 percent of the nation’s households, totaling to 41.2 million people, were “food insecure,” meaning they had limited and insufficient access to food supplies to lead a healthy diet. CEO and founder of Finnegans Brew Co. Jacquie Berglund seeks to reverse this trend and contribute her time towards ending the nation’s hunger crisis.
Finnegans, a beer company in Minneapolis, launched their food truck in 2014 with the help of the “The Food Group,” an organization formerly known as the Emergency Foodshelf Network and their Harvest For the Hungry Program. The food truck operates in the following manner: instead of serving food, the truck collects food and monetary donations in order to give back to the community. Following the first few months after the launch, the trucks collected over 5,700 pounds of food and delivered it to those without adequate access to food sources.
Berglund has ushered in an innovative approach to food security awareness in the Midwest. Her company has donated over 105,000 pounds of produce. Since its founding 18 years ago, the company has donated 100 percent of its profits to support regional food banks. It is the only beer company in the world to donate all of its profits and has raised a total of $500,000 to charity. She has gathered thousands of volunteers across the Midwest to help advance her mission to alleviate hunger.
Berglund’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed by the community. She has received many awards for her community service over the past few years, including the B. Warren Hart Distinguished Service Award from the St. Paul Jaycees. She was also nominated by the Minneapolis St. Paul business journal for a “40 under 40” from the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, which recognizes 40 business owners who are younger than 40 years of age in the state for their entrepreneurial accomplishments. The same journal also selected her in 2016 in their top 12 list of leaders to watch.
The idea of a reverse food truck is an innovative, private sector oriented solution towards combating hunger in the Midwest. With the help of local farmers and the other partnerships that she works with, these trucks could expand across the United States. The success of Berglund’s business model can also be emulated by other entrepreneurs aiming to make a positive social impact. Her successes also demonstrate the crucial role the private sector can play in addressing larger social problems by engaging in charitable actions. It certainly offers up another convenient way for people to donate food.