Last year Street Treats, a new social enterprise helping homeless people, launched at SXSW. I was there, but most of the world didn't hear about it because the noise from Homeless Hotpots was maddening. Street Treats only ran one ice cream cart last year, but it was such a success, they are launching with four vending carts at this year's South By South West Interactive.
If you've been following me you already have heard me talk about Alan Graham, who is near tops on my hero list. Alan runs catering trucks in several cities because he believes by giving our homeless friends a choice he is also giving them dignity. I agree with Alan. Just think about it. True homelessness is absence of choice. A homeless person rarley has any say in how life is thrown at them, When one of Alan's Mobile Loaves & Fishes catering trucks pulls up, a homeless person can walk up and make their own choice of food. That choice helps Mobile Loaves & Fishes build relationships, which they then use to rapid house people in used RVs. That's right, Alan has his own "Texas Style" version of the housing first model he calls "community first."
Today I was invited to a training and started to talk to a few of the homeless vendors. To my surprise, they are not living in a shelter. All of them are sleeping outside. To me, that makes this program even so much cooler. See, often opportunities like this go to sheltered homeless. Providing a social enterprise for street homeless people takes a lot of trust on everyone's part. That trust alone my be better at restoring a life than the money these vending carts will generate.
For the next few days you'll be seeing these vending carts all around downtown during SXSW. Please take a moment and buy an ice cream or coffee, and please make sure to leave HUGE TIPS. Remember, helping homeless people is not only delicious -- IT"S GOOD!
Follow @StreetTreatsATX for updates and locations