When Troy Harris and Kareem Wallace were furloughed from their dining hall jobs at Penn’s Hillel, they didn’t sit idly by. Harris and Wallace set the wheels in motion for a kosher food truck meets community service company. Dubbed “Grassroots” or their nickname: “The Chosen Mitbach,” the truck sets out to engage with the communities in Western Philly by providing teens and young adults with career training.
Harris and Wallace want to help these communities get jobs in a dignified manner, that pay a decent wage. One option is to intern at Grassroots, where interns will learn the fundamentals of the food industry, such as freshness and presentation. These skills can then be transferred to any future restaurant job.
As to why they made the truck kosher, Harris explained that his time spent working at Hillel revealed to him the deep ties all Jews to one another, even to strangers within the community. The Jewish community, Harris said, is constantly helping each other, and that they have been there for him during hard times over his 20 year tenure. Grassroots is the way for Harris to bring this connectivity back to his own community, for people who need help.
Now on to the food. The truck menu is grab and go style, featuring dishes like build your own quesadilla, mac and cheese, pasta and wraps and salads. There is also a catering menu.
Scroll down for the full kosher truck menu
Grassroots will make stops at synagogues and community centers around the Montgomery County, Lower Merion and Western Philly areas. Harris hopes to have the truck up and running by October 9th.
Harris also expressed excitement about a future sister truck, this time meat. He hopes that the two trucks can take road trips in about a year, hitting stops around the NY area. Harris specifically highlighted Long Island as an important stop, being that many of the students who supported him are from there.
Dairy and pareve items are available. The Grassroots Food Truck is kosher certified by the Keystone-K – Community Kashrus.