Rhode Island State and School Leaders Host “Menu for Success” Student Food Truck Ribbon Cutting

Published on Thursday, August 03, 2023


CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. –  Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) today joined Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, Lincoln Town Administrator Philip Gould, and administrators, educators, and students from across the state to celebrate the launch of two new student-operated food trucks, ‘Taste of Central Falls’ and Lincoln Public Schools’ ‘The Mane Event,’ made possible through RIDE’s $1.625 million Menu for Success initiative. School leaders from across the state joined a ribbon-cutting event at Calcutt Middle School as they prepare their food trucks for use this upcoming school year. 

“From designing the food trucks to operating a business, we are thrilled to provide our students with exciting, hands-on opportunities that will prepare them for success both during and after high school,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The Menu for Success Student Food Truck Initiative is just one of Rhode Island’s many efforts to promote year-round learning and improve student outcomes. Thank you to our students, educators, administrators, and RIDE for adding to the rich landscape of food tourism, entrepreneurship, and opportunity in Rhode Island. With their support and these innovative programs, this upcoming school year will offer students new exciting opportunities.” 

“By creating programs such as Menu for Success and the Minority Business Incubator, we are sending a clear message to Rhode Island that we believe in our children and know all students deserve a world-class education, regardless of their zip code,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “The excitement around Menu for Success is palpable, and we look forward to visiting our student entrepreneurs as they serve both food and inspiration to Rhode Islanders across our beautiful state.” 

In 2022, 13 Rhode Island school systems committed to operating food trucks as part of their Culinary Arts or Minority Business Incubator programs: Central Falls, Chariho, Coventry, Cranston, Davies Career and Technical High School, East Providence, Lincoln, Newport, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, Westerly, and Woonsocket.

The Menu for Success initiative will benefit communities at large by providing internship and job opportunities, concessions at games and work sites, presence at community events, fundraising and community service opportunities and more.   

“The Council is proud to support this exciting investment into our high school students and their futures,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “The Menu for Success Student Food Truck Initiative aligns seamlessly with Rhode Island’s commitment to fostering a skilled and talented workforce. By providing opportunities that trascend conventional classroom learning, Menu for Success aims to unlock students’ full potential and inspire a new generation of innovative thinkers. Bon appétit!”

“Our kids have a lot to be excited about this upcoming school year! Menu for Success began as an idea around a table as RIDE reflected on feedback from students who wanted more engaging, enriching, and innovative hands-on learning. In just a few short months, this idea has come to life in communities across Rhode Island, and will add to the engaging programs our schools offer,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Under the guidance of experienced CTE directors, chefs, and mentors, our students are dreaming big and developing essential skills that will open doors to opportunity. We share our gratitude with all involved, including our industry partners who have offered invaluable advice to get the wheels of this project turning. Congratulations to Central Falls and all participating high schools for crafting a recipe for success.” 

While Rhode Island’s food sector accounts for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in sales annually, Rhode Island lags far behind in creating opportunities for people of color to own and operate restaurants. Only 2% of Rhode Island’s 14,000 restaurants are owned by people of color. Through industry exposure, RIDE’s Menu for Success initiative aims to open doors for students of color and increase the number of students who graduate with a defined plan for continued success. 

“The new Central Falls Food Truck is such an exciting opportunity for our school district to not only give our students a creative outlet for learning, but provide amazing career training that opens doors that weren’t always accessible," said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. "Our international culinary talent in Central Falls is unmatched, reflecting the beautiful cultures of families from around the world. Thank you RIDE for helping our future graduates realize they can achieve success as entrepreneurs that embrace their cultures, creative potential, and add to our booming culinary industry, or thrive in other career paths inspired through this Menu for Success Initiative.” 

The 13 food trucks are at various stages in the delivery, design, and debut process. As trucks get rolling, updates and announcements will be shared with the community, including the grand opening of food trucks and schedule of appearances at various events and locations throughout the state.

The food trucks will participate in the inaugural Rhode Island Student Food Truck Roundup at 12 p.m. on Saturday, October 21st. The event is being held at Chase Farm courtesy of Town Administrator Phil Gould and the Town of Lincoln. Guests will sample foods made by student culinary entrepreneurs and judge winners of the Governor’s Cup for best savory dish and Commissioner’s Championship for best sweet offering. Participating districts will also have a chance to compete in the Battle of the Bands. 

“Lincoln is excited to be part of RIDE’s Menu for Success Initiative which is helping students from throughout Rhode Island explore different fields, develop their talents, and unlock their potential,” said Lincoln Town Administrator Phil Gould. “We are particularly proud of the work Lincoln High School students have done to design, build, and successfully launch ‘The Mane Event” food truck. We hope you will join us on October 21st at Chase Farm where we will showcase the skills of these ambitious and hardworking high school students.”

‘The Mane Event,’ Lincoln High School's food truck, will serve a variety of menu items at school- and community-centered events such as football games and field trips. Profits will help fund the programs it serves. The food truck has offered unique and compelling educational opportunities to students throughout Lincoln High School, from law students who will study various certification and health procedures to graphic students who helped design the vinyl wrap on the food truck. Lincoln Public Schools has served as a leader throughout the Menu for Success journey and looks forward to bringing the Rhode Island community together through a shared appreciation for food, entrepreneurship, and student success. Information regarding ‘The Mane Event’ will be posted on the Lincoln Public Schools website.  

‘Taste of Central Falls’ is truly a “vehicle” for equity. This summer, students completed Food Truck Entrepreneurship, a credit-bearing course offered through RIDE’s free, high-quality All Course Network (ACN). Students received their ServSafe certification, learned how to write their own business plans, budget, cook and prepare food truck menu items, and ran three events. In addition to in-school experiences for Central Falls students, this course will be offered to students statewide this fall through the ACN. Central Falls is also offering an additional ACN course entitled “From Farm to Food Truck” which teaches students how to grow their own food in an urban garden while teaching them concepts around nutrition, menu planning, and safe food preparation. Students will have the opportunity to work at two food truck events and visit several farms and restaurants.

Information regarding ‘Taste of Central Falls’ will be posted on Central Falls School District website. Learn more about the ACN programs at www.enrollri.org/ACN. Pre-registration for the fall and year-long ACN course lottery runs through September 4, 2023 at 5 p.m.  

Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green, and Deputy Commissioner Lisa Odom-Villella join students proud to debut 'Taste of Central Falls.' (RIDE)
Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and Deputy Commissioner Lisa Odom-Villella join students proud to debut 'Taste of Central Falls.' (RIDE)
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