To help us stay positive during these challenging times of mostly bad news, we’re sharing uplifting stories happening right here in Orange County. Be sure to check out the May issue of Orange Coast for many such profiles; in the meantime, we offer a few tidbits to make you happy now. Check our homepage regularly for O.C. Steps Up—anecdotes about your neighbors doing whatever they can to lift the community.
Orange County native Steve Carlson is the founder of Food Smackdown, a company that arranges gourmet food trucks for events in O.C. With large gatherings cancelled, Carlson is using his relationships with local food trucks to provide free meals for healthcare workers through his new project, Feed the Frontlines OC.
What prompted you to create Feed the Frontlines OC?
My company works closely with food trucks, so I’ve seen first-hand the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the business. Food trucks rely on gatherings and are unable to do takeout since they don’t have a permanent physical location. At the same time, seeing and hearing about healthcare workers risking their lives to save ours was humbling. I’d been hearing a lot of interest within the community about supporting small businesses and helping healthcare workers, but people didn’t know how to. Feed the Frontlines OC was born, and it’s the perfect platform for providing support to both groups. People can purchase meals through Frontlines, and our local food truck partners prepare and deliver the meals around the county.
What’s the biggest impact you’ve seen this project make?
Seeing healthcare workers’ eyes light up. With the food trucks, we bring a unique experience. The food is cooked on site, freshly packed, and is super high quality. Some people also have very personal connections to these hospitals—one woman told me Kaiser Permanente Irvine saved her life last year—and contributing to Feed the Frontlines OC is their way of giving back. It’s meaningful to be able to help food trucks at this time while also supporting our frontline workers. It’s really our honor.
How can people get involved?
You can visit feedthefrontlinesoc.com to buy meals or contribute a custom donation. Beyond monetary contributions, something we’re really in need of is help spreading the word. Making our project known throughout the community, whether it be through social media, schools, churches, or sporting groups is super important as well.
For more uplifting stories, head to orangecoast.com/ocstepsup.