Each of the more than 80 partner agencies and programs in United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA)’s network has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic differently. Some have repurposed closed facilities to help the families of essential workers while others are logging on to keep their work going virtually. And due to social-distancing requirements, many of UWCA’s partners have had to re-think their critical fundraising events.
AIDS Alabama is well-known for its innovative – and often delicious – approach to fundraising, as both Dining Out for Life and the Funky Food Truck Festival make giving back as easy as digging in at some of the area’s finest eateries. As the world continues to adapt to a “new normal” to ensure our community’s safety, however, such events are difficult to orchestrate.
AIDS Alabama has decided to postpone Dining Out for Life, which is the larger of the two events. Now scheduled for September 24th, it’s an evening during which local restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to AIDS Alabama. When it came to the Funky Food Truck Festival, however, the organization took the opportunity to get creative.
In the past, the Funky Food Truck Festival was held at Cahaba Brewing Company, with several food trucks corralled in the parking lot. Meanwhile, local retailers, selling everything from jewelry to artisanal soap, lined the patio. Given who the organization serves, they were understandably worried.
“At the end of the day, the safety of our clients is our number one priority,” said Caroline Bundy, Director of Development at AIDS Alabama. “We just couldn’t rationalize having an event in a congregate setting, so we took it in a new direction. We’re calling it the ‘Funkiest’ Funky Food Truck Festival because it’s so different from previous years.”
The Funkiest Funky Food Truck Festival will be held July 18th and will feature several food trucks from throughout the community. But while Cahaba Brewing Company will still host some of the participating food trucks, others will decide for themselves where and when during that day they set up.
“If you want to support us, you just find where your favorite food truck is, and visit them there,” said Bundy. “It’s as easy as that!”
Participating food trucks will give a portion of their proceeds to AIDS Alabama, although supporters can also donate in advance online or by texting “FUNKY” to 41444. Meanwhile, Cahaba Brewing Company, a longtime supporter of the organization, will donate continue the fundraiser with Goodwill Game Night.
In addition to respecting social-distancing guidelines, this new model has some unexpected benefits.
“It’s opening the event up to a lot more partners, because we’re no longer limited on space,” said Bundy. “We hope to engage as many food trucks as possible.”
AIDS Alabama hopes the new take on the event will encourage supporters to visit both their old favorites as well as try some new vendors – after all, it’s for a good cause! The list of food trucks, along with all other event details, will be updated on the AIDS Alabama website. To learn how UWCA is supporting the community through the Coronavirus pandemic, including grants for area nonprofits, visit our COVID-19 Response and Resources page.