MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The charitable arm of the Minnesota Vikings recently unveiled a new food truck that will serve free, healthy meals to children in need.
The Minnesota Vikings Foundation's custom-built purple truck is part of an effort to address childhood obesity and hunger in the Twin Cities. The Vikings Table food truck will work with local nonprofits to serve Twin Cities children free meals, such as pulled chicken, turkey tacos and spiralized zucchini, through October.
The truck was built by the Specialty Vehicles Division of Winnebago Industries.
"A great amount of human centered design and engineering went into proper weight distribution and serving ergonomics to get this commercial kitchen up and going," said Ashis N. Bhattacharya Vice President, Strategic Planning and Development at Winnebago. "We are excited to see the possibilities of this vehicle, with or without the commercial kitchen, as it could help partners address food insecurity for families across the country."
Winnebago says the 38-foot Vikings Food Truck features a Freightliner MC chassis, which weighs less than 26,000 pounds and can be driven without a commercial driver's license. The commercial kitchen is designed to hold as many as 10 food preparation professionals when parked.
"There's a greater need for mobile (food) than I think is being met," said Jason Viana, executive director of The Open Door, an Eagan-based nonprofit. "There's a lot of people in the suburbs who need help. It's easy to not see it."
More than 300,000 Minnesota students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals and many go hungry during the summer, when they can't access the extra help. Meanwhile, obesity has disproportionately affected children of color and those from low-income households.