Former Teacher and Students Build Food Truck
COLUMBIA -Josh Bass has a dream. No, it's not to be a rock star, a doctor, or an Olympic athlete. It's to not be stuck in a classroom. It's about food and getting out into the world.
After quitting his job as a culinary teacher at Douglass High School last semester when his class was cut from the curriculum, he's now hoping to pass that dream along.
For Bass, the key to unlocking all this is tied to the ignition of an old, rusty colored food truck. Bass's plan is to repair the truck and start selling healthy beans and rice bowls around different parts of Columbia. Bass plans to sell the food across the city, but he plans to focus on a specific region.
"The idea is to take the truck and cater events at a higher cost like $8 or $9 for a bowl and then that would supplement another bowl that would go to someone say in the First Ward or a program in the First Ward that we could go weekly to help them with something", he said.
And although the truck and the cost of its repair is coming out of Bass's pocket, he isn't alone in making this dream a reality.
He's getting the help from students hired through Columbia's C.A.R.E (Career Awareness Related Experience) Program - an organization that helps youth (specifically high school students) in the city find employment.
So far, the students have helped Bass repaint and revamp the truck in preparation for an upcoming health inspection. When the truck's repairs are finished, the students will assist Bass in preparing and serving food from the truck's windows.
Two of those students, Brandon Rankin and Eulus McClain, said they're anxious to get started.
Rankin, a curly headed freckle faced pizza fanatic, said he's ready to stare at more than just the paint chipped walls of the truck's interior.
"I just can't wait to be getting up and moving so we can sell food out. It's gonna be fun, man", he said. "I just like driving around and looking out the window and interacting with people."
For hip-hop lover (Drake and Wiz Khalifa are among his favorite artists), McClain said he feels the same way.
"[I like] being able to move around and helping people and putting out food", he said. "I can't wait."
And as for Bass, it's all about keeping the dream alive and passing it on to kids who want see more than letters in a textbook, papers in a locker, and posters on the walls.
"They need to be out doing things, just like a teacher. I don't need to be stuck in a classroom for eight hours a day and just more kids more kids more kids... Actually quite the opposite. We need to be out doing things with the community, taking our students, taking our employees different places, learning different things, building relationships," he said. "That's the true entrepreneurship spirit."
Bass doesn't have an official breakdown of the prices he plans to charge. But prices will vary depending on the socioeconomic conditions of the region where the truck is parked.