Head to downtown Minneapolis or other Twin Cities locations during the summer, and you’re sure to find a food truck offering something you’re craving. Now the Minneapolis-based beer company Finnegans, which donates 100 percent of its profits to charity, is taking the food truck phenomenon and spinning it on its head.
Its new “reverse food truck” doesn’t make food. It takes food — for charity.
“We’ve never heard of anything like this before,” said Angie Lee, Finnegans’ marketing coordinator.
The truck sets up at locations around the Twin Cities to collect nonperishable food items and monetary donations via cash or credit cards. All donations go back to Finnegans’ community fund, which channels the food to local food shelves and use the monetary donations to buy fresh produce from local farms for the food shelves.
The idea was born in December during a meeting between Finnegans and one of the companies it works with on its charitable projects, the Minneapolis advertising agency Martin Williams. Within hours after the meeting, Finnegans CEO Jacquie Berglund had secured a truck. Three months later, over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, it was launched.
“It has taken a village to get this truck running,” Berglund said. Local businesses helped transform the 1980s vehicle into a flashy, noticeably bright green truck emblazoned with the Finnegans name.
While the reverse food truck has not yet been to many events, the plan is for it to park at summer events and festivals. Supporters can follow where the truck will be located on social media and at Finnegans’ website, Berglund said.
Berglund and Lee have been pleased with the outpouring of support the truck has received.
For the truck’s first outing, it was parked at Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis and raised 2,114 pounds — almost half of the company’s goal for the month of March. Does Finnegans consider this a success? “Hands down,” Lee said.
By the end of March, the truck had raised the equivalent of 5,056 pounds of food, Lee said. The goal is to raise the equivalent of 50,000 pounds by the end of October, Lee said. It’s a “food drive in the most literal sense,” Lee said.
Danielle Dullinger is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.