A new Edmonton food truck is serving up employment opportunities for people touched by homelessness.
The Boyle Street Eats food truck, which officially began serving customers on Friday, is an initiative of Boyle Street Community Services.
All of its staff, which rotates in shifts of three to four people at a time, have experienced barriers in accessing the formal job market, according to Jordan Reiniger, the general manager at Boyle Street.
“We had a lot of the people who we serve saying they wanted to work in this industry,” Reiniger said. “So we were looking at different ways that we could make that happen, and so the food truck kind of came to us.”
Like its other initiatives, which include a moving company, property maintenance and a bank, the food truck aims to boost the skills and experience of its staff.
“We have a funny business model in that out best employees end up leaving us, and that’s success for us,” Reiniger said. “That’s what we’re here for and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Jordan Hempstock, who works as a cook in the food truck, dreams of studying culinary arts at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and working in a high-end restaurant.
“It’s good experience for working in a regular kitchen. It gets me used to the fast pace — having a time limit on everything,” Hempstock said.
Dozens of customers lined up, choosing between a bison burger, fries, poutine and ice cream.
Some customers, including Tsitsi Chiwara, made their purchase without initially realizing there was anything different about the food truck.
“The best way to help everyone is to do something that’s going to push them off the street, right? So I think that’s an excellent idea and it feels good to have supported that,” Chiwara said.
Boyle Street plans to open the food truck up to four days a week throughout the summer at various parts of the city, including at many festivals.