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Serving more than just food: how a food truck gives back

By Jesse Beauregard

For the last decade, Ken Williams has been sharing his love of great food in and around the Edison, N.J., area in his food truck, Willie’s Hot Dogs. After being laid off at his job in manufacturing, Williams was driving by a local gas station when he spotted the future food truck for sale. “It was a dirty wreck and I loved it. I only asked one question: how much?”

After cleaning up and rehabbing the ’73 Chevrolet Grumman Olsen Curbmaster, Williams was ready to start his own business. Serving everything from custom hot dog creations with homemade condiments, breakfast sandwiches, pulled pork, meatball subs and more, Willie’s Hot Dogs drew in a loyal fan following.

Williams and his food truck, nicknamed the “Willie Wagon,” served food for “10 great years.” But in Williams’ words, “like all good things, there is a beginning and an end, and ironically, the same decline in manufacturing that got me out of my previous job and into the truck ultimately helped me along with the decision to realize that it was time to move on to whatever comes next.”

That’s when Williams made the decision to donate his truck to Habitat for Humanity’s Cars for Homes program. The proceeds from the sale of his food truck will go toward building homes in Middlesex County, New Jersey, where Williams lives and works.  His decision will ultimately help provide safe, decent housing in the same neighborhoods that Williams spent years getting to know and love.

Cars, trucks, including this food truck, and other vehicle donations help fund more home building and renovation projects, supporting Habitat’s vision of a world in which everyone has a decent place to live.

“That truck is and was a huge part of my life for a decade. I loved that truck, my job and my customers; you can’t work with people for 10 years without learning a lot about both them and yourself!”

For more information about Habitat’s Cars for Homes program and the impact your donation can have in your community, visit www.carsforhomes.org or call us at 877-277-4344.