‘A great heart’: Temple food truck owner provides free meals during storm

2021-02-20 18:48:00

Ruben Alvarez
Ruben Alvarez takes a selfie while cooking recently in his backyard in West Temple during the winter storm.

Manning a grill filled with chicken, sausages, steaks and pork chops while snow and ice piled up, food truck owner Ruben Alvarez just did what came naturally to him — he cooked.

Alvarez, seeing those in the community without power and unable to get a hot meal, set up his food truck in West Temple and started to feed those in need for free.

Alvarez, who owns Alvarez BBQ & Catering, said he saw early that the weather was going to get bad and decided to stock up early on various meats. Over three days, he went through all of the meat he had stored, not accepting any money from those in need even if they wanted to pay.

Feeding people for free was nothing special, Alvarez said — it was just something he thought he should do as a person.

“I was stocked up and ready to roll, so all you have to do is help people,” Alvarez said. “It is just what you got to do, man. If you are in a position to help, you help.”

Meals at the food truck included smoked meats such as chicken, hot dogs, pork chops and sausages with sides varying between corn, bread and beans.

While Alvarez parked his food truck in West Temple at 102 W. Adams, that did not limit him getting food to those in need. Alvarez took food to those unable to get to his truck as well as encouraged customers to get plates for friends, family or neighbors in need.

Alvarez said he was constantly on the move for three days, trying to get food to those who needed it.

“I have had a lot of people try and pay me but … I am not doing it for money, I am doing it to help people,” Alvarez said. “I have walked in the snow, ice and everything for the last three days delivering food to people myself. It is just what you do.”

Alvarez said he had a store before the pandemic hit, forcing him to close down the restaurant and switch to catering and serving out of a food truck. He said he has plans to reopen in the future.

Even when he has a physical location again, Alvarez said he will continue to help people when hard times come around.

On the food truck’s Facebook page more than 100 people thanked Alvarez for his generosity in such a trying time.

Rosebud resident Stella Castilleja credited Alvarez for helping to bring warm food to her brother.

“I’ll never forget that you took a chance in this weather to take food to my brother and family,” Castilleja said. “My brother hasn’t had any electricity in 5 days. Sir, you have a great heart.”

Even after he finished selling all of the meat he could get his hands on, with local stores running out, Alvarez continued to help those in need. He directed followers of his Facebook page to where they could help, and delivered groceries to other families.

Alvarez said he also helped give away firewood to those without power, similarly not charging any money.

After all he did, Alvarez said he still had one major regret — he couldn’t do more.

“It breaks my heart to be completely out and how I wish I had a restaurant,” Alvarez said. “No matter how small, I would have been prepared to feed 2,000 a day even if it was chopped (sandwiches) and chips, and not charge a dime.”