The Food Bank of Central Louisiana will be cooking up ratatouille for its first demonstration in the Nutrition on Wheels or N.O.W. truck that is set to roll into the town of Oberlin in Allen parish on Wednesday.
The grant-funded N.O.W. truck is equipped with a full kitchen. It will park in small central Louisiana towns this fall with staff demonstrating healthy cooking techniques, according to Food Bank of Central Louisiana executive director Jayne Wright-Velez.
“Oftentimes, through the years, we found that folks that we serve didn’t necessarily know how to prepare some of the items that we were able to acquire,” Wright-Velez said. “We’ve traditionally handed out recipes. But this is going to take all those things to the next level.”
Food banks across the country are using food trucks to enhance their mission. At the Food Bank for New York City, its Change One Thing truck encourages teens to make one positive change in their diet.
Jeannie Fournier, the food bank’s health education and nutrition director, says the campaign reached more than 232,000 New York City teens last summer.
“I absolutely think that the truck is a vital part of our campaign. It is a way to directly connect with the teens. But it is part of a larger complement of all of our other programming,” Fournier said.
The Food Bank for New York City’s summer marketing strategy also includes billboards, radio spots, and an active social media presence, according to Fournier, who coordinates the location schedule for the Change One Thing truck.
Wright-Velez plans to have some fresh ingredients used in the cooking demonstrations lining food pantry shelves. People will be able to go inside the truck to watch a dish come together.
“If you can imagine a 40-foot trailer covered in big pictures of fruits and veggies. It’s going to get people’s attention we hope in a good way,” Wright-Velez said. “Hopefully, we’ll attract more people who want to find out what’s going on in this truck.”
The N.O.W. truck is scheduled to be in eight central Louisiana towns through September. A schedule is posted below. The truck is made possible through grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and Rapides Foundation in partnership with the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
Aug. 20, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Oberlin (Allen parish)
Aug. 28, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Winnfield (Winn parish)
Sept. 2, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. – Dry Prong (Grant parish)
Sept. 4, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. – Jena (LaSalle parish)
Sept. 9, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. – Marksville (Avoyelles parish)
Sept. 9, 10:15 - 10:30 a.m. – Bunkie (Avoyelles parish)
Sept. 11, 7 - 10 a.m. – Oakdale (Allen parish)
Sept. 11, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Glenmora (Rapides parish)
Sept. 17, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Oberlin (Allen parish)
Sept. 25, 9 a.m. -12 p.m. – Winnfield (Winn parish)