Drive Change is a “vehicle for social justice” that provides formerly incarcerated adults with culinary arts training to obtain meaningful employment within the hospitality industry. And more.
The Brooklyn-based social justice organization Drive Change is bringing its Vendy Award-winning food truck to Manhattan and Brooklyn this summer to feed your body, mind and conscience, reports amNY. The organization is kicking off a new initiative, Awareness and Access Days (A+A), which seeks to spread the word about bail reform and educate New Yorkers on where they can find healthy, locally sourced food.
“The one thing that’s the most important is being able to provide for yourself and provide for your family when you’ve left jail or prison, and the opportunities that are provided to young people that are returning from jail are very scant and very rote,” said Jennifer Williams, the organization’s chief operating officer.
Launched in February 2012, Drive Change is a “vehicle for social justice” that provides formerly incarcerated adults with culinary arts training to obtain meaningful employment within the industry. Additionally, the food truck serves a menu that is entirely sustainable, changing based on what’s available, a reflection of New York’s most seasonal ingredients.
For the newly launched A+A (Awareness + Access) initiative, Drive Change will be curating 2 events per month: One dedicated to a social justice issue, and one dedicated to feeding food insecure neighborhoods.
With its inaugural Awareness Day, on May 11 at Union Square, Drive Change looks to challenge the community to reimagine how the state’s bail system works with a call-to-action event that goes beyond a simple food truck with a petition to sign. One of the major components of this campaign is that a signature dish, reflective of the highlighted social justice issue, will be created by a system-impacted chef. Drive Change staff will hand out food to parkgoers while starting conversations on how the bail system affects low-income New Yorkers.
“The criminalization of poverty is something that continues to occur,” Williams. “There are individuals inside Rikers because they can’t pay sometimes $1, sometimes $100.”
Bail reform is one of three criminal justice reform topics in the focus. Later this year, Drive Change will also highlight the need to close the Riker’s Island jail complex and the state of food within New York’s jails and prison.
The second part of the initiative, Access Day, will launch on May 18 at The Gregory Jackson Center in Brownsville. The event, beginning at 11:00am, will provide information to residents who live in food insecure neighborhoods on how to access healthy food options in their neighborhood and the surrounding areas. The event will also include cooking demonstrations by East New York urban farmer Alexis Mena and Melting Pot Foundation instructor Rodney Frazier Access Day, to share healthy cooking techniques and recipes with the residents.
“In a lot of neighborhoods there are green markets that pop up or gardens that provide produce, but if you don’t know that they’re there, you don’t know that they’re there,” Williams said.
A+A events will be held on the second and fourth Friday of each month through the fall.