Helping Yourself while Helping Others: The Best of Both Worlds
Wouldn’t you love to know that with every healthy meal you buy, you’re also giving a meal to somebody else? Amazingly, Rutgers University alumnus Nicholas Kubian started an organization that does just that.
In 2011, Nicholas partnered with Dominic Rodriguez to start SouperVan, a bright yellow food truck that parks around Rutgers campuses and offers affordable, healthy meals to students. The menu is full of seasonal, local ingredients creatively put together in delicious dishes, like their signature Fiji BBQ Press—a whole wheat wrap filled with smoked tempeh, gouda, caramelized onions, and agave mustard.
Serving delicious food to college students was only half of the equation for these ambitious social entrepreneurs. They were also passionate about using the food truck as a way to help individuals in their community by providing nutritious meals and jobs. For every meal that a student buys, SouperVan donates money for a meal to the local soup kitchen. So far, they’ve helped provide over 6,000 meals at Elijah’s Promise, a nearby soup kitchen.
Additionally, SouperVan provides jobs to those in need by teaming up with the soup kitchen’s culinary training program and hiring its graduates. In return, the soup kitchen lets SouperVan use its commercial kitchen for food prep and storage.
Selling at the university was important to Dominic and Nicholas’ larger, broader goal: to inspire our country’s next young leaders. They hope that the food truck will prompt students to find new, creative ways to help one another and be the next person to innovate a social enterprise that benefits the community.
Looking for creative ideas like SouperVan to help others lead healthier lives? Follow the Partnership for a Healthier America’s End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge on Facebook, an online contest looking for unique ideas to help address childhood obesity. The winner will be announced in March and receives $10,000 as well as expert support to help make the idea a reality.