#SomethingGood: North Texas Food Truck Employs At-Risk Kids

She's a food truck owner doing something good in the community.

"We are a small business with a social mission," said Ashlee Kleinert, owner of Ruthie’s Food Trucks. "I’ve had a grilled cheese food truck business for nine years. The business has grown each year and it became more of a grind each year rather than fun or inspiring."

Kleinert’s food truck employs kids who are coming from the juvenile court system in Dallas.

Kleinert, who is very humble, wanted to pass the credit on to a man she says has helped her help so many.


"Chad Houser, owner of Café Momentum [in Dallas], is the real hero. He works with [these] kids and teaches them to play with knives and fire! His restaurant is incredible and employs and supports these young people with social skills and wraparound services such as case workers, tutoring and mental health classes. The kids at Cafe Momentum are typically there for 12-18 months and then they need to move on to other employment opportunities because there is a waiting list of kids to come in behind them."

Kleinert says the issues is some of those kids aren’t ready to move to a position at a big restaurant or hotel. It can be a little too much too soon. That is where Ruthie’s steps in. Hiring kids directly from Café Momentum when they graduate.

"I just can't say enough about the partnership and how we have been blessed and been given a new purpose beyond being a grilled cheese food truck. Sixty-percent of the kids are homeless, and all have been through the court system."

Now the food truck business is giving them a second chance to turn things around and get cookin' in life.

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