Here's Why This Food Truck Takes Your Cash and Gives You Nothing

Minnesota beer company Finnegans has a 'reverse' vehicle that collects nonperishable items and money for hungry citizens.

(Photo: Facebook)

Jun 12, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

If you’ve ever been in Los Angeles on a Friday or Saturday night after the clubs on Sunset and Hollywood boulevards shut down, you’ll witness an incredible phenomenon: hordes of hungry people descending on food trucks parked on the streets. Cash is exchanged for bánh mì sandwiches and tasty kale and quinoa bowls—all while members of the city’s considerable homeless population beg for food.

Similar scenes can be witnessed across America, but a Minneapolis-based brewery has a fresh take on the food truck craze—one that helps the city’s hungry. That’s because instead of serving craft beer or tasty treats, Finnegans Reverse Food Truck collects nonperishable food items and cash donations from attendees at events in the greater Minneapolis–St. Paul area. The beer company launched the truck (you can see it being tricked out in the video below) in March through a partnership with the Emergency Foodshelf Network’s Harvest for the Hungry Program.

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Finnegans CEO Jacquie Berglund worked in France for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Social responsibility is a key component of Finnegans’ ethos. Its corporate mission is simply stated on its website: “Turning beer into food.”

Finnegans has made good on the promise. Since its inception in 2000, the company has given 100 percent of profits from its Irish amber and blonde ale beers to its nonprofit community fund, which supports projects that feed the hungry. In 2012, it donated more than $100,000.

In America, the homeless aren't the only people suffering from hunger. Last year, a report from Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign found that educators who responded to its survey said that 73 percent of students are coming to school hungry. Thanks to the enduring effects of the economic downturn, families simply don't have enough food at home.

The truck, with its “We don’t make food. We take food” slogan, just takes Finnegans' commitment to the issue on the road. Along with accepting food donations, the truck has a menu that tells customers how much a cash donation will purchase. Forking over $2 gets one person food for a day. Giving $25 can feed someone for two weeks, and $100 can feed a family of four for that same amount of time.

Berglund told ABC News that in the four months the truck has been operating, it’s received nearly 5,700 pounds of produce that has, in turn, been delivered to hungry people. With a goal of raising $50,000 by October, the truck is set to be out and about all over Minnesota.

"All summer long we are bringing it out to local events," Berglund told ABC News. "And we'll be putting it on a schedule with a social media campaign so people can follow it."