Food & Drink

Taco truck to help support immigrant families

Mount Pleasant project a 'win-win-win for the whole community'

FILE PHOTO: Corn tortillas are ready to be made into tacos. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
FILE PHOTO: Corn tortillas are ready to be made into tacos. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

A Mount Pleasant church and a group that aids immigrants are rolling out a food truck this summer to help support families in the community.

The Rev. Trey Hegar, pastor at First Presbyterian Church, said Iowa Welcomes its Immigrant Neighbors, or Iowa WINS, has rented a taco truck that will serve high-end tacos and other menu items in the area and at events throughout the state.

The truck’s official launch will coincide with RAGBRAI riders traveling through Salem in southeast Iowa on July 26.

No money is required for the tacos, but donations for Iowa WINS will be accepted at the truck.

“(The donations) will be used to help families caught up in the immigration system,” Hegar said.

Hegar said the bulk of donations will go toward immigrants’ legal fees. He noted some people wait a decade for their immigration hearings and spend over $100,000 in legal fees, and they can’t work until they get immigration papers.

Since Iowa WINS was founded in 2015, the group has worked to serve immigrant families in the area and focused on building relationships and educating the entire community. Hegar said the church recently started working on a partnership with Community First Credit Union to provide financial management classes to immigrant families.

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement came to Mount Pleasant last year and arrested 32 men, Hegar said the church became a safe meeting place for families affected by the raid.

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A food pantry was started to help feed affected families, and the church began to help pay bills for families struggling after a source of income was taken away.

Hegar said the taco truck sprang from recent conversations about the future of Iowa WINS and the idea of a sustainable ministry project, which would bring all proceeds directly back into the ministry.

After going through some examples of these types of projects in other places — including a farm, a convention center and a Subway shop — the group settled on the idea of a family renting out their taco truck, Hegar said.

The truck also will create a “micro-economy” for the community, Hegar said. The church has been reaching out to businesses about having the truck around for employees to get food from, especially in areas where there aren’t many places to eat.

There’s also a list of events the group wants to take the truck to in the next year, Hegar said, but the only official stop so far is RAGBRAI.

Some families also are working on a community garden space that will grow food for the truck.

After hiring a manager/chef for the truck, Hegar said, it is ready to start serving.

“It should be a win-win-win for the whole community,” he said.

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