Recent law school graduate Lara Maierhofer is teaming up with brothers Tom and Bo Saxbe, creators of the Cheese Wizards food truck, to open Seattle's first charitable food truck. The new Cheese Wiches will serve up the same tried 'n true Wizards fare, but the Wiches will use proceeds (and sometimes sandwiches) to serve people in need: patients in hospitals, hospices, long term residential facilities, and more.
How it will work: Cheese Wiches plans to park its truck around Seattle weekdays during lunch, likely at a distance from the Wizards, serving the same menu. For the first year, roughly 50 percent of Cheese Wiches' proceeds will go to the program's charitable mission while the remainder will be used on operating expenses. It hopes to increase the amount of charity-directed sales as time goes on.
As far as Maierhofer is aware, this charitable food truck is the first of its kind in the country. She cites three other nonprofit food trucks in the country doing (great) philanthropic work but under different models: Atlanta's People's Food Truck, NYC's Snowday Truck, and Portland's Tacos el Jornalero (now closed; its recipients, day laborers, used to volunteer shifts with the truck).
She says the Cheese Wiches is unique because it will be "donating the exact same food and services to our recipients that we sell to the public. We will also serve as a vehicle to spread awareness of the battles our recipients are fighting by actively distributing educational materials and starting important conversations about these causes in the streets of Seattle."
Maierhofer thought up the Cheese Wiches concept when she was working on the Wizards truck last summer while awaiting results for her Uniform Bar Exam. (She passed in multiple states.) She and the Wizards' Tom and Bo Saxbe decided to establish a nonprofit called Comfort Food Charities, and Wiches sprung from there.
Initially the Cheese Wiches will be funded by private sponsorship and contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations, but within in the first two years, it hopes to become entirely self-sustaining through sales. Visit the Cheese Wiches site to learn more and donate.
It plans to hit the streets this July.