In September, 2012, Sarah and I incorporated The Torch. We had a vision and a plan that was relatively simple. We wanted to feed people. We wanted them to know, that no matter what has happened in their lives, regardless of whose fault it might be - or what choices brought them to where they are - they are still valuable human beings who deserve to be respected and loved, and to have hope in their lives. We wanted our food truck and symbol, The Torch, to represent light during what can be some very dark moments in life.
Our desire and passion to do this was so strong we gave up our free time activities to pursue the dream. We scraped up money wherever we could get it - if one of us had $10 or $20 or $5 to donate to The Torch, we put it in. When we were tired and discouraged, we dug deep within ourselves, prayed a lot, held our heads high, and continued to push through the struggles.
And then we had a food truck. We brought that baby home right before Winter, and didn't have a clue how to make it work. So, we spent night after night, weekend after weekend working in it and on it, practicing and learning and figuring things out. We cried tears that froze to our cheeks, and discovered endurance we didn't realize we possessed. We clung to our dream, our goal, our hope.
The day finally arrived when we were scheduled to take our food truck out to our very first stop in what was to become one of our regular neighborhoods. We were tense, and our patience and knowledge were stretched as we parked the truck and began to prepare the food. Of course, it started to rain. We looked at each other and said, "What if nobody comes?" But we pushed that thought aside and cooked a meal.
And the people began to come. And come. And come. The rain stopped. The sun came out. All at once, the line at the window had dwindled to a few people - and I looked out over the grassy area and basketball court next to the truck - and I saw lots and lots of people. They were eating, and talking and laughing. A young girl came to the window for seconds and said with a huge smile, "I have never seen the people here come out for anything like this!"
The sweat, the tears, the fears, the sacrifices were all worth it at that moment. We realized one cannot say, "This is how much it is worth to help human beings." There is no price that can be attached to affecting lives and bringing hope.
A lifetime has gone by in the past four years. During that time we realized we could impact lives even more if we were able to get involved on a more personal level than we have with the food truck. A large number of people with disabilities live in poverty. They can be made to feel like they have nothing to contribute to society.
We realized we could bring hope. We could offer training, and help connect disenfranchised people into our awesome community. And so we launched Torch 180 where we train people who have disabilities to work in the food service industry. We knew it wouldn't be easy. We knew we would be making sacrifices. We didn't realize it would take as long as it has to get our very own building. We've taken a lot of risks along the way.
So far, without a building of our own, we have trained eight individuals. Six are now working, and two are looking for work. We are working with an additional eight students - and hoping to add another class of up to ten. Meanwhile, we are raising funds to purchase our own space - where we hope to be able to offer our community delicious food and fun and a place where people get together, while continuing to train and impact the lives of human beings we meet.
We have wept. We have struggled. We have sacrificed. But how much is too much? We know there is no price that is too high to pay to bring hope to the people in this world.
We are deeply grateful to everyone who has come alongside us and sacrificed and given.
If you would like to help out - you can click this link: http://www.torch180.org/180-campaign.html
How much? That's entirely up to you. :) Thank you in advance!