Lake Forest resident Kirsten Germaine and her family came to the Habitat for Humanity “Gourmet on Wheels” fundraiser mainly for the food trucks, but the evening also gave them the chance to donate to a cause of which they are quite fond, Germaine said.
Germaine’s oldest daughter, Tessa, first started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity earlier this year through the Looking Ahead program, which offers opportunities for professional young performers to reach out into the community.
"It’s a good cause, especially in this economy," Kirsten Germaine said. "It’s a very good program, and great for the families."
Women-Build OC, a branch of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, hosted Lake Forest’s first "Gourmet on Wheels" event Friday in the parking lot of Stanley Black & Decker. The event featured live jazz, an origami food truck building contest and access to the offerings of various Orange County food trucks.
Proceeds raised will go toward the construction of the group's sixth house, said Jennifer Chung, development manager for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.
Habitat OC’s first Women-Build home was constructed back in 2002 in Costa Mesa. Since then, the organization has raised enough funds to build four more, spread out through Huntington Beach, Fullerton and Santa Ana. The location of the sixth house is currently undetermined. Fundraisers are a way to make a dent in construction costs, Chung said.
“This fundraiser is a great way to support [Women-Build OC],” she said. “It’s a fun event, and brings awareness to our organizations.”
Linda Nguyen and her sister, Monica, were just two of the many attendees. Since the pair work near Stanley Black & Decker, the event was a convenient after-work stop, Monica Nguyen said.
“It’s for a good cause, and we saw that it was for an [organization run by women],” Linda Nguyen added. “We’ve really been enjoying ourselves.”
Throughout the evening, people congregated around the different food trucks, waiting in line for the variety of dinner options they offered. The smoky smell of barbecue, sweet waft of sugar and the pungent kick of garlic radiated through the air. Attendees chose between dessert waffles, bacon-wrapped macaroni and cheese, bratwurst and more. While music played, families sat together at the tables, filling all of the available seats.
Even the food truck vendors contributed to the festive nature of the night, with some of the trucks contributing to the festive atmosphere by playing their own music, audible to hungry diners standing outside the order window.
Joe and Pam Youkhan, owners of Joe Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon, said they were excited to have the chance to participate in the fundraiser. Organizers said that each food truck at Gourmet on Wheels agreed to donate 15 percent of their proceeds from the event to Women-Build OC.
“Someone from [Women-Build OC] approached me after she had bought lunch from the truck,” Pam Youkhan said. “She asked if we’d be interested in taking part in the fundraiser tonight, and we were more than happy to participate. Habitat for Humanity is a great cause to support.”