Food trucks come through with extra helping of good for South Lake Union kids

Picture SOUTH LAKE UNION – Seattle food trucks and their customers came through with an extra helping of good this week for an after-school education and homework program for underserved kids and families in South Lake Union.

One lunch at a time, with donations of extra change on up to $20 bills, South Lake Union’s food truck customers contributed $1,040 to the South Lake Union Community Council’s SLU-Cascade Youth Enrichment Program.

In just three weeks the effort delivered twice its fundraising target and brought the community closer together, said organizer Jessica Hovater of The Hot Dog King on the corner of Westlake and Harrison Streets, one of five food trucks and carts that got behind the fundraiser.

“The entire neighborhood was very generous,” said Hovater, who along with partner Salvator Savago opted to forego customers’ tips during February in support of the effort.  “It went from $1 bills to fives, tens and even $20 bills,”said Hovater, whose customers include workers at local technology, health sciences and retail businesses. And construction workers.

“You see people in a different light than you would otherwise.  The construction workers are helping build (South Lake Union), but they don’t live here. Some live as far north as Bellingham,” she said. “You don’t think of them opening their wallets – but they said ‘absolutely, I want to be a part of that’.  It captured the attention of the entire neighborhood.”

The donations will help the youth program qualify for matching grants from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund Program and others, said Mike McQuaid president of the South Lake Union Community Council.

“With so many fundamental changes going on in South Lake Union, it’s also important to stay focused on building community,” said McQuaid, who was presented with the donations by Hovater and Savago at Tuesday’s SLU Community Council meeting at the Museum of History and Industry.

For Hovater, continuing to make investments in people is worthwhile.

“When the community feels they have invested in their environment they are more willing to take care of the their neighborhood long term,” she said.  “It’s people investing in people. We’re investing in each other.”

The SLU-Cascade Youth Enrichment Program, which kicks-off later this spring at the Y@Cascade People's Center in South Lake Union's Cascade neighborhood, fills an important education-gap for families and elementary school-aged kids 3 – 13. The program will offer structured homework help, education materials and nutritious meals to kids between school hours and when their parents arrive home from work.

To find your favorite food truck in Seattle or to learn more about this growing segment of the hospitality industry visit

About The South Lake Union Community Council

The recognized South Lake Union neighborhood leadership organization by the City of Seattle, the South Lake Union Community Council is the steward of the SLU neighborhood plan and collaboratively with community stakeholders authored the SLU Urban Design Framework and the SLU / Uptown Mobility Plan. The South Lake Union Community Council meets monthly (4 – 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month) at the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union. To learn more visit

Participating South Lake Union Food Trucks

The Hot Dog King Open: Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri. (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Location: Corner of Westlake and Harrison (next to Firestone)

Now Make Me A Sandwich Open: Mon., Wed., Fri. (11 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.) Location: Corner of Terry and Thomas

Caravan Crepes Open: Fri. (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Location: Corner of Westlake and Harrison (in front of the Aveda)

Buddha Bruddah Open: Mon., Tues., Thurs. (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) Location: Monday, Friday:  Corner of Westlake and Harrison Tuesday, Thursday:  219 Terry Ave. North

Lumpia World Open:  Tues. (11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.) Location: Corner of Westlake and Harrison