The Lucky 13 in action
Beginning this week, you might see smoke coming from a St. Louis-area fire truck, rather than just the burning building it’s next to. That’s because local philanthropist Geoff Mees has fixed up a 1957 fire truck and is taking it around to events to serve up barbecue and cheer.
The food truck — now dubbed "the Lucky 13" — was born out of the Mehlville Lions club, a south county chapter of the national group that organizes charity work and public service. An active member, Mees was gifted the truck by a local funeral home and immediately began to think about the altruistic possibilities that came with it.
“I’m housing it and maintaining it," he says of the truck, "but that all comes out of my pocket, so I looked into how I could turn it into a nonprofit."
The truck, a functioning and drivable sky-blue American Lafrance model, has now been retrofitted to include a barbecue smoker. Mees' nonprofit, Our Blueprint Mission, is smoking barbecue on it for both public and private events, offering the meat along with various options for sides and beverages. (Think pork steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs and baked beans.) All proceeds go to local charities that support military personnel, women and children, and those struggling with substance abuse.
Mees says an encounter with a staffer at local advertising company Osborn Barr handed him an important opportunity.
“I was asked to come up to do a BBQ for them in St. Louis for Cardinals opening day," Mees explains.
After that event, the firm began working with him on developing a brand for the truck, as well as getting the truck sponsored by different companies. Most of the businesses are locally owned — particularly in the south county area.
The Lucky 13 held its first event open to the public yesterday afternoon at Osborn Barr's office. It hopes it will be the first of many more. The truck is now available to be rented out for events or for charity — and Mees and his team will come by with both food and a smokin' conversation starter. You can also add your logo to the mix by becoming a sponsor; to do so, contact email@example.com.
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