UBCO student Emily Durkin is behind The Muck Truck social/business enterprise. (Contributed)

UBCO student Emily Durkin is behind The Muck Truck social/business enterprise. (Contributed)

UBCO student’s vegan food truck to help feed the homeless

UBCO student Emily Durkin behind food truck charity/business enterprise

A UBCO student wants her food truck project to help change lives.

Emily Durkin is ready to kick-start The Muck Truck in May with a twist – two days a month she will set up shop along Leon Street in downtown Kelowna to offer vegan food menu options for those experiencing homelessness for free.

Durkin, a third-year psychology major student at UBCO from Brampton, Ont., said it’s her initiative to address wealth inequality in Kelowna and to not let people suffering in life become a new normal.

“I think people sometimes forget that no one wants to be homeless…but sometimes people find themselves in that situation for various reasons and it becomes a downward spiral that is hard to get out of,” Durkin said.

“For me, the Muck Truck idea combines my passion for cooking and for helping people out.”

She said that empathy comes from her own childhood experience, losing her mother at age 12, and having to help out with the cooking role for her younger sister.

“I know that feeling of wondering sometimes where your next meal might be coming from,” she said.

That empathy has also been generated from her post-secondary education experience at UBCO.

“My psychology program has taught me a lot about empathy for others for sure and just educating me about things going in our world,” she said.

“I am super excited about doing this but I know nothing about running a business so this will be a learning experience.”

Durkin’s business proposition, as she hopes to make money to help offset her education expenses while employing UBCO business degree student Easton Gilowoski, and possibly a second person, has become an education lesson in itself.

She rented the food truck from an Alberta company for the summer and learned quickly the food service rules in B.C. are stricter than the prairie province, forcing her to make several modifications in her four-wheel kitchen.

She hopes to have the artwork wrap on the food truck applied within the week, after which she will have her vehicle parked for service in the Mission next to Barn Owl Brewing, 4629 Lakeshore Rd., every Sunday, starting May 2.

Other Kelowna spots you can find the Muck Truck will be outside Sandhill Winery, 1125 Richter St. in Kelowna, every Wednesday; the Vibrant Vine Winery, 3240 Pooley Rd. in Kelowna, every Thursday; and The View Winery, 2287 Ward Rd., on Saturdays.

She will be offering a vegan menu, both using her profits and a donation collection to help cover her costs to feed the homeless. She has also set up a GoFundMe donation link at https://gofund.me/dc305206.

She is working on developing vegan protein food options for the homeless to help meet likely shortfalls in their daily diet.

“What is important for me is I want to offer them a choice instead of being a hand-out, treating them as real customers, giving them options and personalizing it for them,” she said.

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