CINCINNATI — “Unbelievabowl” is a food truck with an unbelievably good mission — healthy food served to struggling families with no price tag. In addition to serving healthy food for pay-what-you-can prices, Unbelievabowl gives out recipes that people can remake for about $2 a serving.
"If we can not only help people eat today but teach them to eat better at home, then we're solving a whole lot more problems," owner Brandon Whitaker said.
But like so many other business owners during the coronavirus pandemic, Whitaker found himself in a similar situation to the communities he was trying to help: struggling.
When the state shut down because of COVID-19, Unbelieveabowl’s money-making staple events stopped, including festivals and corporate catering.
"It has crippled us,” Whitaker said. “So the two main revenue streams dried up."
Before the pandemic, Unbelieveabowl was on a roll. Ohio’s only charity food truck was serving 37 of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Hamilton County, an area that has the country’s sixth-highest poverty rate. Cincinnati’s child poverty percentage is more than double the national average, according to the American Community Survey.
When Queen City Mobile Food Truck Association members learned about Unbelievabowl's situation during the pandemic, they pulled up to show their support.
The association is holding a raffle with the goal of raising a total of $150,000 by June 26. Most of the money will go toward funding a new, fully equipped start-up food truck business. Another 30% will go toward getting Unbelievabowl on the road again.
Association president Anthony Lang said it's an example of how the food truck industry comes together when the rubber meets the road.
"Anytime that someone wants to support the community and they're willing to put the time and effort into doing that, then other people need to rally around them and support,” Lang said. “And that's all we're doing."