Meet Tracey Porter

Thank you to VoyageDenver for doing this piece on us.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tracey Porter.

Hi Tracey, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers.
Food Trucks began in early 2021 on the heels of what was going to be a one-time holiday donation to our houseless neighbors. Originally, my wife and I wanted to provide a warm meal for the week of Christmas and New Year’s to our houseless neighbors. It was during Covid, food trucks had been sidelined due to the pandemic and donations were down to most non-profits. We thought, how can we help and make the biggest impact at once? The idea came, we would commission a food truck for each week and feed anyone that showed up, additionally, we gathered items of necessity; socks, underwear, hand warmers, toiletries, etc. It was wonderful!

Westside CARES, a local nonprofit, serves a large population of folks that live on the margins and the streets, so they were the perfect place to partner with for this event. We paid the food trucks; they were so grateful for the event and were thrilled to be of service in this way. They expressed how much it made them feel like they were making a difference. The neighbors loved the food and were equally grateful for the warm meals. One of the food trucks suggested we would make this a regular occurrence. The original idea was that the food truck owner would gather a food truck for each week, and we would gather donations of needed items and money. Food trucks were asked to donate their time and provide the meals at a reduced rate. We started asking for donations for items and cash contributions on social media. Food Trucks Against Homelessness was born.

Since then, things with the original food truck didn’t come to pass, we had conflicting ideas, but we totally appreciate their help to get things moving in the right direction. We now line up food trucks, get the donations, arrange everything, and serve a meal every Monday, if funding allows for it but at a minimum twice per month. We have incredible volunteers that show up every week, donations of needed items that roll in and social media has brought in monetary donations.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a challenge to run our organization due to a lack of funds on a regular basis and to find willing food trucks to show up.

There have been times that we have thought about ending the initiative due to lack of funding and just when we were seriously considering it a donation rolls in that keeps things going. We like to say, “We are so grassroots that we are grassroots!”

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We specialize in helping those folks that are underserved. Our goal is to make sure that they have one hot meal per week, bare necessity items, and human connection. Seeing people and validating them is as important as feeding them. There are many moments that we feel truly proud of but here are a few that stand out. We have a neighbor that was houseless for six months.

She has since found an apartment that has worked out to be perfect for her. She still frequents FTAH on Mondays because she still needs assistance with food and other items. In a private moment, she told me, “The only reason that she is in a house and thriving is because of Tracey and her constant encouragement, support, and love.” Just in the last week, we have another woman that has been fortunate enough to get housing and let us know that she is alive and housed because of FTAH! Lastly, we have served 7337 meals since our inception, and we have done it all with the support of our community, friends, family, and other local non-profits.

We feel that our biggest asset is our willingness to collaborate with other organizations and people that are looking to move the needle on homelessness. We aren’t trying to take the corner on something, we don’t need to be the hero, we just want to work together to contribute what we can to help the folks that need it the most.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
We love all books and podcasts about self-help, growth, evolution, inclusivity, civil rights, and spirituality. We don’t have a favorite per se but anything that gets us to think greater than where we are at and will inspire us to contribute to society and community in a positive way.

Currently on our nightstand is, How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong, reclaiming family, friendship, and community. A long-time favorite podcast is On Being.