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Food truck for charity: British Columbia doctor launches nonprofit

A Vancouver-area surgeon, inspired to try to give back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, has launched a food truck that will raise money for charity and employ people struggling to make ends meet .

Dr. Sharadh Sampath says the Cultivate food truck will start by parking outside hospitals in Metro Vancouver, giving healthcare workers the chance to grab a healthy meal on their breaks while contributing to a good cause .

“It kind of created momentum during COVID because obviously people who were struggling before COVID were having a much worse time during COVID,” he told CTV News.

He says that while he has worked hard to achieve success in his life, he acknowledges that his relatively privileged position has also played a role.

“If I didn’t have all that, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. And so I want this playground to be the best it can be,” he explains.

“This is the first foray into trying to help make that happen for some people who might not have had that chance otherwise.”

The truck is getting back up and running after a hiatus caused by rising fuel and food costs and Sampath says he hopes raising awareness of what he’s trying to do will help the business succeed and hopefully -the, will give others considering trying to make a difference some motivation.

“That’s one of the measures of success. If someone hears about the truck and thinks, ‘Well, if this guy can do it, I can do something similar in my community and help where I live. . That would be great,” he said.

Her colleague, Dr. Ekua Yorke, says she is doing everything she can to spread the word and make the project a success.

“I think we all often have great ideas, we imagine ourselves helping society in some way. But at the end of the day, life is often busy or we don’t know how to galvanize people so that ‘they come together,’ she said.

“When I saw that he took the time during COVID, when most of us were struggling to keep our heads above water, to bring this project to fruition, I was inspired.”

While the nonprofit is still getting up and running, Sampath has a vision for what it will become. He hopes to expand the truck’s customer base by organizing events. More workers will be hired, trained and paid a living wage. The plan is to go beyond donations to the hospitals they park in front of to support shelters, cancer research and Indigenous health initiatives.

But beyond that, he wants people to know that the food is not only healthy but really, really good.

“We have two chefs who are nothing but rock stars. The food is legit and they put a lot of love into it,” he says.

“You will leave with a full stomach and a little inspiration.”

Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.