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John Carroll University students launch food truck businesses to help homelessness in Cleveland

Posted at 6:30 AM, Dec 24, 2020

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Starting a food truck business isn’t easy and doing it in the middle of a pandemic is even harder, but that’s exactly what students at John Carroll University have been assigned to do.

Constance Economus and Max Loeb are only sophomores and already they’re already planning for their future.

“I’ve kind of found a path that I somewhat know that I want to be on,” Economus said.

Loeb currently runs his own sports blog and wants to continue to do that.

Before taking a social entrepreneurship class this semester, both students were ready to take on the world as young business owners or so they thought.

“I didn't realize how much goes into it,” Economus said.

Their professor called it the “Food Buggy or Truck Project." In just three short months, their assigned groups had to come up with business plans for an actual food truck right here in Cleveland.

“I definitely have a newfound appreciation and respect for these owners. I can't even imagine going about owning a business amidst all this,” Loeb said.

The food truck is 7 by 12 feet big and was customized specifically for the food truck project. In the spring, the business plans & food menus this semester of students like Economus and Loeb worked on will come to life. They’ll leave those plans in the hands of a new batch of students who will take the truck and those plans out into the community to serve a greater purpose.

“This very project can meet new needs and emerging needs in the city,” said Katherine Feely, Director of the Center for Service and Social Action at John Carroll University. “The students will run this as a for-profit business, will feed the lunch crowd and they’ll use those proceeds to cover the costs for meals for those who are homeless.”

Feely is the one who founds the food truck and bought it with donation money gifted to the university.

"I’m so inspired by this generation of students because they are creative, they’re passionate, they’re curious and they really want to make a difference in the community," she said. "They’ve taken hold of this project and have run with it in ways that we couldn’t have anticipated."

Understanding the power in giving back and the importance of serving others is what Loeb and Economus say they didn’t fully understand at first, but now both of them are vowing to make it apart of their own business plans after graduation.

"The greater purpose needs to be served in whatever I do," Loeb said.