Eat Better Today-The Fresh

University of San Diego's Nonprofit Leadership and Management alumna Teresa Smith is a semi-finalist with the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. Eat Better Today Program serves hot healthy meals to homeless through a mobile food truck that accepts Food Stamps. The homeless operate the truck for work skills development.

Project Summary

Dreams for Change operates the San Diego’s only Safe Parking Program that offers transitional homeless living in their vehicle a nightly safe place and intensive case management services. We have assisted over 1200 individuals take the steps to end their homelessness. Access to healthy food options has long been an issue with the homeless population.

San Diego County Health and Human Services has identified low participation rates amongst the homeless in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formally known as Food Stamps. The homeless describe multiple barriers to utilizing the SNAP to include the ability to purchase healthy foods are limited, and no storage or cooking space available to assist in creating and sustaining healthy eating habits. To address their specific needs, we launched a mobile catering food truck that accepts SNAP benefits. A mobile food truck would provide the convenience of healthy food delivery, cutting down on worries of accessibility, storage, and cost.

We offer SNAP application assistance for those who potentially qualify for benefits during truck operations. As a component of program operations, the mobile food truck program serves as skills training for small business development, restaurant management, food distribution and procurement, culinary job training and other various workforce development components. Our goal is provide additional non-traditional training opportunities for the homeless, bridge asset building education for individual sustainability and to empower the homeless to move from homelessness to sustainable housing. We envision in the future a fleet of mobile food trucks operated by homeless and prior homeless individuals as they move towards self-sufficiency.

We are seeking additional funding to fully develop the small business development training program. Funds will be utilized for training materials, business coaching and supportive services, such as transportation vouchers, interview attire, etc. We are seeking a total of $25,000 through various campaigns to support these efforts.

Read more about her hot meals program.