MASON, Mich. — It's no secret that many small businesses have struggled to stay afloat throughout this pandemic. With canceled events and a lack of foot traffic, our local food trucks were hit especially hard. One woman in Aurelius Township just west of Mason recognized this early on, and decided she was going to help any way she could -- and she has, with the help of her nearly 300 neighbors.
Her name is Katie Snyder, but others refer to her as the food truck angel.
"I heard that a local food truck was willing to make deliveries within 20 miles from Lansing," Snyder said.
"They're driving, you know, dozens of miles to deliver a single pizza," Don Waskiewicz, Snyder's dad, said. "And it just seemed to not make sense."
So, Snyder invited the food truck, Shove It Pizza, to park in her subdivision, Columbia Lakes. She then took to her subdivision's Facebook group.
"So, she put it out there. 'Let's bring the truck in, and let's take advanced orders.' People placed orders, the truck came out, sold out -- they sold all the orders they prepped, plus they sold additional, and it kind of started an idea," Waskiewicz said.
Snyder was originally doing one per month, but now she organizes food trucks to come out every two weeks.
"As soon as I get them scheduled I let people know when they're coming," Snyder said. "I let them know it's almost time, here's the menu, it's today -- come now."
Wednesday's food truck was Nom Nom Ninja from Mount Pleasant, which visits two to three subdivisions across Michigan per week to compensate for the lack of events they would normally be working. They made more than $2,000.
"Our averages sales are about $1,500 per subdivision," Brandon Haught, owner of Nom Nom Ninja, said.
"The food truck owners seem really appreciative to have kind of that opportunity back to be out in the community without having to necessarily be at an event," Snyder said.
Because they don't know what she looks like, Waskiewicz said after they leave, the food truck owners reach out to Snyder to see if she stopped by. When she says yes, it's usually met with, "Well you didn't tell us! We had a free meal waiting for you!'"
"She says, 'No, I'm really not doing it for free meals. I want to pay like everybody else. This is all about giving you guys opportunity,'" Waskiewicz said.
"The community loves it. It's a break from their normal routine. It's kind of been a little food truck light in the darkness," Snyder smiled.
Zach Mollitor and his family, who live in Columbia Lakes, agree.
"One time it's donuts and cider, another it's hibachi burritos," Zach said. "It never ceases to amaze us what can come through as far as a food truck and the small business that we then get to support and want to keep coming back to."
Through her efforts, Snyder has helped 19 food trucks generate roughly $20,000 in sales since April 2020.
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