Keishana Green had heard all about the trendy food truck movement and festivals where mobile vendors offer cuisines from the exotic to the familiar.
But until Tuesday, she had never had the chance to get a firsthand taste of such an event.
“I’ve always wanted to try these trucks,” she said, sitting at an outdoor table with her three children, surrounded by trucks decorated with the logos of some of the Sacramento area’s hottest mobile restaurants. But when you are uncertain about where you might be sleeping on any given night, Green said, you have few culinary options.
On Tuesday, mobile cuisine came to her and hundreds of others who typically receive their meals at shelters or from charitable organizations. For the second straight year, the owners of seven food trucks rolled into the Loaves & Fishes complex on North C Street and served up everything from Laotian and Thai food to hamburger sliders.
Krush Burger and its mini sliders drew the longest lunch lines. But Chando’s Tacos and its “famous mulitas,” Drewski’s Hot Rod’s pulled pork, BaconMania’s “piggy sliders,” GameDay’s classic burgers, Green Papaya’s Thai rice and Smokers Wild’s BBQ chicken all had their fans. Diners also could partake of cups of ice cream, bags of chips and cold water handed out by the likes of Sacramento City Councilman Darrell Fong and county Supervisor Don Nottoli.
“We’re giving our guests the chance to feel like the rest of society,” Loaves executive director Sister Libby Fernandez said, as the Beatles song “All You Need is Love” blared from speakers. “They have choices today.”
Paul Somerhausen, director of SactoMoFo, which organizes food truck festivals in the city, said the group visited Loaves for the first time last year and plans to return annually.
“It’s a very transforming experience,” Somerhausen said. “It’s humbling. When you’re a small business owner, it’s easy to get lost in the operations, the long hours, the running around. You can get stuck in tunnel vision.
“It’s important for all of us to reach out to the community. Sacramento has been very good to the food truck industry, so this is a way for us to give back.”
Hamidulla Saahir, who was enjoying spicy fare from Green Papaya, declared the food to be “fantastic.”
“Even when you get food handed to you from the shelter, you still appreciate it,” said Saahir, who lives temporarily at Volunteers of America. “But this is special.”
Among the guests at Tuesday’s event were students at Mustard Seed School, where children can continue their education even while their parents are homeless or transient.
Trinity Summerfield, 14, has gone to school at Mustard Seed, on the Loaves campus, at times when her mom and dad have struggled.
“I hold Mustard Seed close to my heart,” she said.
Summerfield, who was at the event with her parents and three siblings, including an infant, praised both the taste of her Krush Burgers and the overall atmosphere at the event.
“It’s great for the kids. It’s fun,” she said.
After lunch, Summerfield planned to put out some feelers for a few good books.
“Me and my sister read as many books as we can,” Summerfield said. They have a penchant for supernatural stories and are huge fans of the Harry Potter series.
Her other great passion? Cooking and food.
Summerfield’s family currently live in a motel, where they “are lucky enough” to have a stove for cooking. She puts on her chef’s hat whenever she gets a chance.
“I love chicken, steak. I can even bake cakes,” she said.
For the moment, though, a plate of burgers and some music in the bright sunshine suited her just fine.