You Can Learn a Lot From a Food Truck
By Penny Wiegert
I had to run an errand for my parish, so I used my lunch break to get it done. Since I didn’t happen to bring my usual lunch from home, I figured I could also grab some fast food if the errand didn’t take too long.  On the way to the store through the parking lot shared by another store, I passed by a food truck. I thought to myself, “Perfect. Run the errand, grab something at the food truck and head back to the office. Quick and done and no additional stop or driving.”
Even though our diocesan offices are located in a busy retail area where there are many stores and restaurants with a wide variety of food choices, the time spent maneuvering the traffic to and from the restaurants and waiting in the drive-up line can many times consume most of the lunch break time. So, for the economics of both time and finance, lunch out is not always a choice.
But here was a food truck right where I was.
As I completed my transaction for my original errand, I asked the clerk if she knew anything about the food truck outside. She fully endorsed it, saying “everyone says it is good,” so I made up my mind. The food truck would be my lunch stop.
I stood at the truck looking over the choices and while the waitress explained some of the offerings, I got to thinking how this food truck is like the Great Commission found in the Gospel of Mark. “Go out into the world …” Now I realize that a food truck is not a disciple but the compulsion of food truck owners to “go where the hungry people are” is a lesson for us.
The storefront restaurants must put together all the accouterments needed to attract customers and provide a memorable and marketable dining experience. They create great menus, have extensive wine and drink options. They make arrangements for ample seating and well-trained wait staff, ample parking, and accessibility. They hope all that and great hospitality will bring you in the door and keep you coming back. Sort of like our parishes.
A food truck business model operates with a limited number of choices but uses those that are popular and impactful. It draws attention to itself with a well-decorated and sometimes wildly colorful truck or trailer, a little music and big smiles on helpful staff.  The trucks go to places where people need to eat with little time. It understands it has a limited amount of time to distract you from your distractions and make you a customer. And in the case of so many food trucks, once you try it, you become hungry for another visit. Sort of like Catholic people.
Perhaps, we as Church should look at this model, especially as the world emerges from the isolation of a pandemic and the Holy Father calls us to prepare for the 2023 Synod of Bishops that’s all about communion, participation and mission.
Maybe we Catholics should take a lesson from the food truck business.
Answer the call to go out among the nations by simply going out among our fellow humans. Put on the attractiveness of the Gospel regarding being kind and merciful and be seen by others in the vibrant colors of Christ. Recognize the need and the limitations of others and fill it in a way faithful to Christ and pleasing for the recipients.
Go to where the hungry are — where there is hunger for Christ or perhaps even malnutrition. Offer the nourishment of your kindness and your example backed up with a full menu of the Commandments, Beatitudes, and the Catechism itself. Offer the distraction of the truth, the salt, the light, and the sweetness of Christ’s love, complemented by the full flavored meat of the Gospel. Blast out the music made by the promise of the resurrection. 
And hopefully, like the best food truck, you’ll have hungry folks coming back for more and passing on the endorsement that “everyone says it is good” to follow Christ.