Food trucks keep restaurants busy, help fire companies raise funds
In a time when many restaurants and local organizations are suffering financially because of COVID-19 restrictions, common ground has been found: food trucks.
Brent Lebouitz, the owner of Sweet Willows Creamery, said the purchase of his food truck back in 2005 has been a "blessing in disguise."
As his brick-and-mortar ice cream shop in York Township has switched from dine-in service to window pickup in order to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, Lebouitz has relied more on his truck to bring his dairy products straight to his customers.
"If it wasn't for the truck, I don't know what I would do," Lebouitz said. "Especially seeing other businesses who can't do this; there's restaurants closing left and right. We can go to a neighborhood with a couple hundred people — you can't have that at the shop."
The Eureka Volunteer Fire Co., too, is finding that food trucks are a great way to generate funding. The company hosted a food truck festival Saturday at the fire hall, located at 82 N. Main St. in Stewartstown, and it's planning another for June 5.
After having to cancel several fundraising events this year because of the pandemic, Eureka has struggled to make up for a loss in funding, said Ira Walker Jr., the assistant fire chief.
"With the way restaurants are handling food deliveries and take out, there's no reason Eureka couldn't do food trucks," Walker said. "Right now we're just trying to do something that generates revenue."
The Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Co. is hosting a similar event, hosting four food trucks at its fire station to raise money for the company.
The food truck event is happening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 29 behind the Shrewsbury fire station, located at 21 W. Forrest Ave. in Shrewsbury. It will feature FFF Catering featuring George's Famous BBQ, Sarah's Creamery, Tom's Vegetables and G's Oven Fresh Pizza & Fries.
Hosting an event outdoors while promoting social distancing from the safety of food trucks, Walker said this type of event would be an ideal way to keep people safe and also raise money for the department.
Lebouitz also has taken measures to prioritize health, encouraging social distancing when lines at his ice cream truck form and only letting one person handle the money while another hands out ice cream.
Sweet Willows Creamery also serves prepackaged ice cream in half pints, with spoons, cones and toppings all wrapped individually.
"We're really cautious about safety," he added.
Sweet Willows Creamery first started serving ice cream by food truck in March.
The brick-and-mortar shop, located at 2812 East Prospect Road, is open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. for window-only service from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed Mondays.
"It brings us such a good feeling being part of the community and bringing the community together," Lebouitz said. "It's so awesome because you really get the sense of bringing the neighbors back into a feeling of community."
— Reach Tina Locurto at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.