One of the great things about chefs and restaurateurs here in our state and across the nation is the never-ceasing giving that is part and parcel of their everyday lives. The food-service industry is at the forefront of good works, in times of trouble and more importantly every day helping people you and I never hear of.
Many people are not aware that over 90 percent of all restaurants are involved in community service to one degree or another. It is estimated by the National Restaurant Association that restaurants will make charitable contributions of up to $3 billion in 2012.
Good works that accompany good food often come with a story. The Providence Potato Co. and its distinctive, old-fashioned, green peddler’s cart was my neighbor on the village roads of Usquepaugh during October’s Johnny Cake Festival at Kenyon’s Grist Mill. I broadcasted live from the festival that weekend. The Providence Potato Co., as Vina Lindley of the Trudeau Center put it most aptly, is “a really awesome project” started by the Trudeau Center in Warwick. The cart was put on the road in 2011 to provide jobs for the clients that the Trudeau Center supports. The center’s Worksite Partners Program finds employment for people with special needs. The cart was put on the road as an in-house job creator and has proven to be a great success.
The Providence Potato Co., a licensed, mobile-food cart, appears at events all over the state selling baked potatoes with gourmet toppings. Proceeds and the work of preparation and serving help the Trudeau Center in its mission to provide viable employment and skills to people who are laboring under various disabilities. The menu of toppings includes locally grown produce and foods such as pesto butter, tomatoes and onions. Classic chili, cheddar cheese and even chowder are other toppings that may be chosen.