A Cleveland nonprofit’s food truck is celebrating great success
CLEVELAND, Ohio – News 5 continues to follow the stories that matter to you. When others leave, we return to your community and dig deeper to bring you the latest developments. Last year, we highlighted a local nonprofit’s campaign to give people a second chance at life.
Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry’s food truck, Metro45, has become so busy that it is now fundraising for another food truck and perhaps creating a fleet to keep up with demand.
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The truck has helped provide employment and stability to those exiting the criminal justice system.
However, it needed several repairs, and staff were still working on advertising it as available for events.
Fast forward to 2023, and the food truck is constantly popping up at events all over the city.
The department says this would not be possible without the support of the community throughout Northeast Ohio and their strong employees working to create better lives for themselves.
“It was worth it. It was a labor of love,” said Scott Tieman, executive chef of Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry.
Teaman is still preparing the Metro45’s favorite food trucks, breakfast and lunches.
“It’s a half-pound Angus burger. Potato patties, grape jelly, cheddar cheese and horse radish,” Tiemann said.
Now entering its third season – Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry’s “Workforce on Wheels” has experienced a truly transformative moment.
“We’re finally getting the rewards of what we’ve done,” Tieman said.
You won’t find much fruit in the sandwich.
“Honey smoked bacon. We do it in house,” Tiemann said.
The truck was reserved in December and is constantly busy.
“We have a following now. People come in and actually want our food. That’s the best part,” Tiemann said.
It’s a real pinch moment.
In recent weeks, they’ve served meals at the star-studded 2023 Forbes Under 30 Summit, the annual food truck challenge at Croker Park, and the Taste of Browns restaurant at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
“Guys from our culinary program who are still incarcerated to be downtown at an event like this — smiles. They came back and said, ‘I can’t believe we did that,'” Tieman said.
Metro45 officials say a big part of its success is because it can take people anywhere, often helping them rediscover their passion in the food service industry while giving them a second chance at life.
“I was incarcerated in the pre-release area in the Northeast here in Cleveland for two and a half years,” said Brandi Swoofland, Metro45, food truck supervisor.
Swoveland went from being a Chopping for Change inmate to kitchen employee.
She moved up the ladder and excelled so much that she was eventually promoted to supervisor.
“I just know I have a purpose. It gave me a purpose. This food truck gave you a purpose? Yeah,” Sofland said.
Brandi works every day to inspire those around her, and now she can provide for her family.
She says the future is bright when you put in the work.
“We hope there are bigger and better events and we get our story out there. We all have a story on this truck,” Sofland said.
“I can’t wait to see what happens next year,” Tieman said.
Money earned from the food truck goes back into the LMM program, including providing meals to area homeless shelters.
Donate here if you would like to support their mission or help fundraise for a second food truck.
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