More than 1,000 people gathered for lunch Thursday on the 1300 block of Locust Street while supporting efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
Action Wellness held its fifth-annual Food Truck Pop Up as part of Dining Out For Life, an international fundraising event in which restaurants donate 33 percent of their proceeds to local HIV/AIDS organizations.
Action Wellness, which was called ActionAIDS at the time, founded Dining Out For Life in 1991. The event has since expanded to more than 60 cities in the United States and Canada. DOFL raises more than $4 million each year for HIV/AIDS causes; Philadelphia's event raised $200,000 last. Funds raised for this year’s event were not available by presstime.
The Food Truck Pop Up featured 15 food trucks, including:
- The Cow and the Curd
- NOMAD Pizza Truck
- OINK and MOO BBQ
- Chewy's Gourmet Food Truck
- Chef Johnny Bravo's Surf N Turf
- Cupcake Carnivale
- Surf and Turf Truck
- Foolish Waffles
- Phoebes BBQ
- The Tot Cart
- Farm Truck
- Mom-Mom's Polish Food Cart
- Waffles & Wedges
- GiGi & Big R Soul/Caribbean Food Truck
- Mama's Meatballs
Additionally, Yards Brewing Company was also in attendance raising awareness for its brand. Yards will present Action IPA, its beer collaboration with Action Wellness at several participating locations from 6-10 p.m. tonight.
Tara Moore, senior communications manager for Yards Midtown Village, said the staff was busy at the table and did not get a chance to try the new beer but noted the importance of working for the cause.
“It’s exciting,” Moore said. “It’s for a good cause. The organizers have been really great to work with; they’re passionate about what they’re doing and they’re eager to get sponsors here so we’re excited to be a part of it.”
Evon Burton works at Philadelphia FIGHT, which is located right near the Pop Up area. The 29-year-old said he enjoyed the chicken and waffles, joking about “trying to figure out how to work it off afterwards."
“Cheap options, delicious food — Philly has the best food trucks in the world,” Burton said. “It’s an easy way to support an amazing cause.”
Samantha Giusti, executive director of DVLF, said she has never missed a Food Truck Pop Up since Action Wellness began hosting them as part of DOFL in 2013. When asked what food she has eaten so far, the 31-year-old joked, “What have I not eaten?”
“I am out here supporting the great work of Action Wellness and I’m also dining out for life and fighting AIDS,” Giusti said.
Action Wellness Executive Director Kevin Burns noted the overall environment of the afternoon.
“It’s a lot of energy,” Burns said. “It’s great fun, great food, great people. It’s a beautiful day. So we were lucky. It’s a fun vibe.”
Visit https://www.diningoutforlife.com/philadelphia/restaurants for a list of participating Dining Out For Life restaurants tonight. All proceeds will go toward Action Wellness, AIDS Delaware, Family and Community Service of Delaware County, the Camden Area Health Education Center and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Diners who donate an additional $25 or more will receive a 20-Percent Off Tuesday card, which will give them 20 percent off their bill at participating restaurants Tuesday evenings through April 2018. Interested donors can also text DINE to 50155.