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The Helping Hand Food Truck Asks the Community to Pay It Forward

The Salem-based business plans a pay-as-you-can policy, where homeless people eat free.

The Helping Hand Food Truck logo
The Helping Hand Food Truck logo
Kickstarter

A fledgling business is attempting to crowdfund its bold mission: The Helping Hand Food Truck aims to provide locally-sourced, fresh food, and its founder wants to offer its fare for free to those who cannot afford it.

Corey Phelan is the philanthropically-minded entrepreneur behind the venture. "When I was younger I volunteered at a homeless shelter and saw human suffering up close and personal," he writes on the company's Kickstarter campaign page. "I have also always dreamed of one day owning my own business." In his Kickstarter bio, he describes a formative experience of offering to take a homeless man out to lunch on a 15-degree day. The Helping Hand Food Truck "is a merger of [Phelan's] two dreams!"

Phelan describes himself as having a strong work ethic, and he has a background working in diners and kitchens. The 26-year-old is family-oriented — he writes in his Kickstarter bio that he has 36 first cousins — and he says those close to him are willing to help launch his business.

The campaign is looking to raise $90,000 to purchase a furbished truck complete with logos and design, secure the necessary permitting and licenses, source food to launch the business, and pay Kickstarter's fee. Launched June 29, the project has raised just $635 so far.

The Helping Hand (or, Homeless Eat Free, as it's called on Kickstarter) will serve breakfast and lunch daily from 6 a.m. - 9 p.m., with hours extending to 3 a.m. on weekends.

As the business plan is laid out on Kickstarter, the mobile diner will serve food to all guests, and customers who are able to pay will set their own prices as they see appropriate. "I am hopeful others will see the value in this company," Phelan writes.

The Helping Hand / Homeless Eat Free food truck has until August 28 to meet its $90,000 goal.

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