The DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana, a nonprofit that helps people with special needs, has recently expanded their previously private meat pie food truck business, the DREAMS Xpress Truck, so that the citizens of Lafayette can order delicious meat pies all over the city, according to this article for The Advocate.
The nonprofit, the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana, was founded by Donielle Watkins and Brian Watkins in 2008, and it has a name indicative of what they stand for. DREAMS stands for Disability, Resources, Education, Activities, Management, and Services. Donielle Watkins and Brian Watkins founded the nonprofit organization in honor of their son, who has spina bifida and who had expressed interest in playing sports. Upon researching active organizations in the region for their son, the Watkinses noticed that the region was lacking offerings for their son, so they took it upon themselves to provide sports and activities for people with special needs and resources for their family members.
As the years progressed, the Watkinses launched their pie business, DREAMS Manufacturing Co., as a way to create jobs for people with special needs. Donielle Watkins commented on their ability to offer jobs to those with special needs: “we trained them from day one. We figured out what they could do based on their ability and had them do that. Whatever they could do, we use that ability and have them make them successful.”
The Acadiana Advocate, who covered the grand opening of the DREAMS Xpress Truck, spoke to several employees about their experience with the organization. Reporters noticed Logan Watkins, who usually made the meat pies or worked the ordering system on the truck, offering drinks to customers as they waited for their orders. He revealed that he enjoys the social aspect of working on the truck.
Additionally, Lex Goulas is another employee of the Food Truck who was seeking a job after graduating from high school, and after finding DREAMS in 2018, he has worked for them ever since. He spoke of this sense of duty by saying, “because DREAMS has done so much for me, it’s been an opportunity for me, and I loved it ever since then.”
One of the main jobs offered by the DREAMS Foundation is to work on the highly-popular DREAMS Xpress Truck, a food truck that has spent the past three years selling meat pies for nursing homes, jails, and local businesses. But as the popularity of the truck has risen over the past three years, the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana and its workers are ready to expand their business to the city of Lafayette as a whole by making their pies publicly available.
The expansion of offering the food truck’s menu to the wider public of Acadiana began in mid-June with a grand opening held on Johnston Street near Burger Tyme, which is a highly popular spot for food truck patrons. Within the first hour of opening for business, the food truck was completely sold out of all of their available pies, which included popular flavors such as Chicken Alfredo and Pulled Pork. In speaking on the turnout of the grand opening, Watkins said, “it was awesome. Yes, we had to turn around and make more after the first. The Lafayette community (is) so supportive! I am exhausted, though!”
The DREAMS Xpress Food Truck specializes in baking and selling stuffed meat pies that come in a variety of flavors. As the truck expands to the public, Donielle Watkins revealed to The Advocate that they hope to sell upwards of 120-150 pies, as they offer a deal of purchasing two pies and a bag of chips for only $10. The truck is located at 3302 Johnston St., the central location of the DREAMS Foundation of Acadiana, and it will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on various days of the week.
Donielle Watkins invited the citizens of Acadiana and the city of Lafayette to try out the pies by saying, “come out, have a good time talking to our employees and have some great food!” Those interested in purchasing pies or booking the truck for private events are being asked to check out the organization’s official Facebook Page.
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