Held in the back parking lot behind Valley River Center, the Eugene Food Truck Fest drew in crowds on Saturday that exceeded the venue’s expectation of ten thousand people. Hosted by the Eugene Mission and presented by SELCO community credit union, the inaugural event on June 18 included all but one of the expected 28 food trucks. The festival also had a caricature booth, classic cars, a stage with local radio stations, sponsor’s tents and a kid’s zone complete with a bouncy castle.
Though the Eugene Mission planned the event in January as a way to build awareness about the mission and homelessness, the event developed a new component when their kitchen burnt down just two nights before. Expecting insurance to not cover all of the estimated $300,000 in damages, the Eugene Mission added fund-raising to the event and began selling t-shirts and accepting donations of canned goods. The food trucks also stepped up by providing 10% of their revenue to help rebuild.
Expressing his views of the event, Executive Director of the Eugene Mission Jack Tripp said that even though they were there “to gain monetary profit and get the community to understand what we do,” he also stated “[the] goal is to end homelessness and get people well.”