Thrive’s Food Truck 5K to support Homeless Youth Center

Thrive’s Food Truck 5K to support Homeless Youth Center

August 10, 2015

Do you love 5K runs? Do you love food trucks? Do you love to help a good cause? Then you’re in luck, because on Saturday, September 26 at the Valley View Aquatic Center in West Des Moines, all three come together in one great event with The Food Truck 5K.

“It’s a 5 ‘o’ clock race, so it’s going to start in the evening. Right before dinner you get a run in, then you get to eat right afterwards,” explains Rev. Jennifer Hibben of Thrive UMC, which is hosting the event. She also notes that “This is not just for people who are running or walking the race. We want to invite people to come and just enjoy the food trucks.”

Click to hear the conversation with Rev. Jennifer Hibben  

Proceeds from the 5K, which has a $30 “Early Bird” registration fee if you sign up by August 17 at, will go to Iowa Homeless Youth Centers. “This organization is doing such incredible work,” enthuses Rev. Hibben, citing “everything from the drop-in shelter where kids can come in and get a meal, can take showers, can do their laundry…all the way to some duplexes that they own for pregnant and parenting moms that are outfitted specifically for families with little kids.”

Rev. Hibben describes the congregation of Thrive UMC as a young, new community. “We want to keep it simple, and so we talk about being there on Sunday, we talk about small groups, and we talk about service. Those are the three pieces we think are really important for our faith.”

For the service part, they like to do at least three service projects each year, two of which are smaller-scale and may involve working at a soup kitchen or doing a collection drive. For the third, larger-scale project, the Thrive community felt they could do something great for the West Des Moines community and for Iowa Homeless Youth Centers.

“We have a lot of young families, and, for them, there’s the emotional connection to the idea of youth being homeless,” Rev. Hibben says. “So for a lot of them, there’s a real desire to connect to those youth, to be able to be a positive person for them.” Developing a relationship with Iowa Homeless Youth Centers also helps Thrive’s members to become more knowledgeable about the issues facing homeless youth and to become better advocates for them.
“For us, this is just one of those connections that we feel pretty strongly about, and it’s really resonated throughout our congregation, so we know it’s a good fit for us.”

Clearly Thrive UMC has picked a good cause, but the tough part can be to get people out to a fundraising event in the first place. However, The Food Truck 5K is bound to draw a broad crowd, from runners to walkers to foodies. “The food trucks came up because it’s one of the great local things that’s happening right now; it’s really popular,” says Rev. Hibben.

There are roughly 40 food trucks currently operating in the Des Moines area, and local chefs are finding that this model an amazing way to get wide exposure for their culinary creations. “It’s a great opportunity for them to reach a large amount of people in different places, and go where the people are – which is a great model for church,” Rev. Hibben adds with a laugh. 

There will be about 10 food trucks at the 5K event, and some very unique foods are on the menu. “We have one truck that’s going to have foot-long egg rolls. You talk about foot-long hot dogs at the Iowa State Fair, but we’re talking about foot-long egg rolls at The Food Truck 5K! There’s another truck that has waffle cones that have chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy and buffalo sauce on them. So there’s really some creative stuff that people are doing.”

For those who want to skip the 5K and go straight to the gravy, Thrive will be asking for a $5 suggested donation to go to Iowa Homeless Youth Centers as people enter into the food truck rally, which will be along a large grass lawn at the Valley View Aquatic Center that will serve as the start and finish area of the race. The race starts at 5pm, and the food trucks will be serving until 8pm.

Those entering the 5K pay $30 if they register before August 17, $35 if they sign up by September 21 (which is the day registration ends), or $40 on the day of the run. You can register and learn more about the event at

So whether you’re a runner, eater, do-gooder, or all three, you’re going to want to come out to The Food Truck 5K on September 26 to support both the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers and local food truck businesses.

“Invite lots and lots of people to come. Come cheer on somebody, but then hang out and eat food,” says Rev. Hibben. “We hope to see lots of people there!”