Feeding Furloughed Feds with Ruthie's Rolling Cafe
On a dreary Tuesday morning, there is a bright spot parked outside the Dallas offices of Homeland Security Investigations and US Secret Service. Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe, a food truck known for its award-winning grilled cheese sandwiches, passed out more than 100 free lunches to federal employees who have been affected by the government shutdown. Though they haven’t been paid in over a month, more than 95% of this Dallas office is considered essential and has continued to show up each day for work.
Grilled cheese sandwiches may seem like a small gift in light of larger political tensions over the extended shutdown, but the team at Ruthie’s is convinced that the small gifts are what add up to truly help people. “We want people to feel valued,” said Ashlee Kleinert, Chief Cheese Officer at Ruthie’s, who uses her food truck for showing furloughed workers that Dallas cares.
Katrina Berger, Special Agent In Charge for Homeland Security Investigations was feeling grateful as she watched the line of employees order their lunch. “I can’t thank them enough,” she said. “I think it is great that people have recognized the work that federal law enforcement does and have shown up for us. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way and it has been very well-received.”
The giving spirit has gone even beyond the team at Ruthie’s. A disabled veteran living outside of Fort Worth heard about Ruthie’s plans for feeding federal workers and called the food truck’s office to donate ten meals. “It is amazing to simply feed people who need to be fed,” shared Robin Skinner, Director of Catering Services and Marketing for Ruthie’s. “Wherever you can help, you do help. It is central to Ruthie’s mission to impact the local community for good. All of our employees buy into that idea when they join the team and they love these kind of events - they want to do more!”
Donating food is nothing new for Ruthie’s Rolling Cafe; they have dubbed their charitable efforts “Ruthie’s Snacks of Kindness.” From providing meals at the Austin Street Center to feeding the staff at Dallas CASA, this food truck is on a mission to impact the city one cheesy sandwich at a time. “We hope this is a call to action for other local businesses,” Robin said. “Nobody knows what kind of situation you’ll find yourself in tomorrow, so we want to encourage those who can give back to start today.”
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Story and photos by Mary Martin.