116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Finding a good new location for the food truck feeding those in need has proved to be difficult
CEDAR RAPIDS — For the second time in two months, Bridge Under the Bridge is searching for a location to call home.
The nonprofit, started in August 2020 to provide free hot meals to those in need after the 2020 derecho, was open for one day at its second location. The organization, run by Bridgette Williams-Robinson and her husband, Jovountae Robinson, left The ROC Center on 10th Street SE after serving there on May 4.
Williams-Robinson said the location wasn’t a good fit for her family and organization’s needs. With several meetings set up for next week with various property owners in Cedar Rapids, she hopes to secure a new location soon.
Finding a permanent location for their food truck has been “a lot more difficult than you’d think,” she told The Gazette, with “as many businesses and empty lots and places that aren’t even being used in the city.”
“It’s the luck of the draw at this point,” she said. “I don’t know more; I wish I did.”
At the end of April, Bridge Under the Bridge was forced to leave its original spot under Interstate 380 on Eighth Avenue SW after receiving notice from Linn County. Linn County, which leases the land from the Iowa Department of Transportation, received complaints over several weeks about debris and maintenance of the site.
Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers previously told The Gazette the county needed to take action to comply with the terms of its lease in order to avoid losing the land.
Though Williams-Robinson said it’s hard to be picky about where they’re allowed to stay, Bridge Under the Bridge needs a location appropriate for the clients it serves, preferably in a central area accessible to those in need of food and along a bus line.
Like First Avenue, Eighth Avenue carries a lot of traffic through Cedar Rapids, which made the location even more accessible and visible for those in need.
“We can’t move to the Walmart in Marion, or the business district by Quaker on 33rd — that would make no sense for us,” she said. “We have to make sure we’re in a neighborhood that can utilize the services. … Otherwise, we’re not helping, we’re just in a space.”
Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell previously said that the city would help in identifying another location for the organization, though the city is not involved in land ownership. One location on the list provided to them was The ROC Center, Williams-Robinson said. Most others leads on the list are privately owned.
Other than making a handful of emergency food boxes for those who have asked, operations for the organization, which drew national attention from Good Morning America, have mostly ceased. With children out of schools and away from school lunches, the reduced reach has been particularly difficult for the couple used to helping their community.
“You wake up and it’s just different. You know how many people you helped every single day,” Williams-Robinson said. “When you wake up and aren’t doing that, it’s heartbreaking.”
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