JACKSON, Mich. — Northwest Schools is calling it the 20 K Food Truck Challenge. Thursday was the first day where 15 food trucks competed to be voted the best of the bunch. But, the reasoning behind is much bigger according to Northwest High School English Teacher Katie Christner.
“It’s to benefit our students. Every single student that walks through our doors at Northwest High School will benefit financially from this through their clubs, their organizations, the aethestics of the building. We want to redo our commons area to make it more college career friendly and just add some things to it to make it more welcoming. We have students that haven’t been through our doors in a year and a half since that March shutdown with COVID. So, we want to make sure they come back and feel welcomed. A fresh start,” Christner said.
Organizers are hoping that the challenge will raise $20,000 that will go towards many projects according to Northwest High School Special Education Teacher Emily Stepke.
“Different groups such as like the arts like music, broadcasting, yearbooks. Different clubs such as like storm leadership team, be more kind, e-sports. Different athletic groups can all sign up to volunteer to work these rallies and once they have students working these rallies as volunteers they’re eligible to gain funds from the rally. So, anyone who wants to earn money from these rallies simply has to provide volunteers and they can put in for how much they would like to earn to put towards their program.” Stepke said.
This is a big deal for Northwest High School to be able to help support clubs and organizations after a year where they had to lay dormant.
“We pretty much had to halt fundraising with COVID. You can’t go door-to-door. You have to be spaced six feet apart. You can’t ask students to please go fundraise when you can’t visit with people. Now with things opening up, we wanted to take this opportunity to welcome the greater community...not just Northwest Schools but the greater community in the state of Michigan to come support us,” Christner said.
There will be three more challenges coming up through September. It is $5 to attend. 30 percent of door fees will go towards their goal.
“When it comes to school budget things are very strictly regulated. Even though we get so much per pupil from the state each year it’s very designated on how it has to be spent. It can’t be spent on passion projects that truly make our community a special place to be,” Stepke said.
Brandon Haught who owns Central Michigan-based Nom Nom Ninja, a hibachi-style food truck helped recruit other trucks to this event partly because of the community support in Jackson.
“We love it. Honestly, it’s our biggest supporters that’s why we’re down here so often. All these trucks are donating 10 percent of their sales to the school as well. They all love doing it. We love the support, and we have no problem giving back. That’s how it all started. I was part of the small fundraisers and then when we got the partnership with Consumers Energy it just made it even bigger,” Haught said.
He also partnered with Consumers Energy to make it happen.
“This event is all about bringing fun and fundraising to Northwest Schools. It’s the 20,000 dollar food truck challenge. We have an opportunity to raise that money with our partnership with Consumers Energy.”
Consumers Energy will donate $5,000 per food truck event if they get 200 energy-efficient appointments scheduled. A representative will come over to your house and give you a package including light bulbs and showerheads.
Food trucks came in from Detroit, Lansing, Saginaw, Toledo, and Illinois. They will be rotated in and out throughout the competition.
There are three challenges left. Thursday, July 29 Thursday, August 19 Thursday, September 18
All challenges are held from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Northwest High School, 3757 Lansing Road.
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