[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was 2005 when Joan Cheever, a San Antonio resident decided to take a stand and make a considerable change in her local community. After spending some time listening to her children complain of not having what they "wanted and needed", Joan Cheever decided to teach her then-teenage kids a lesson about the community and people less fortunate.
She packed up a pot of chili, a container of green salad, a pack of water bottles and Joan and her kids drove across the city to deliver the hot meal to the homeless.
The Beginning of The Chow Train
Soon after that first food delivery, Joan and her husband Dennis Quinn started Chow Train, a nonprofit organization which provides hot and healthy restaurant quality food for the homeless community and for disaster relief victims in Texas and surrounding states.
The nonprofit food truck visits four different locations around the San Antonio area every Tuesday to deliver healthy meals the homeless residents. The Chow Train also regularly serves a hot lunch to 175 guests of the nonprofit, Under The Bridge. In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Joan shares that the organization started out as a family activity that friends helped with by volunteering.
By being involved in the community and providing food for those in need, her and her friends learned about the people they were helping, "I got them to interact with the people on the street and realize they're just like us. They're not invisible people -- they're real people and they're hungry."
To date, Cheever and all of the Chow Train volunteers have served over 100,000 meals to those on the street. To help alleviate the cost, she receives donations from local farmers, various catering companies which have extra food, and even Trader Joe's when they clear out their shelves.
The Chow Train also provides dog food for the community's furry friends.
Not only does the Chow Train provide hot food to the homeless people of San Antonio, the food truck has been helping out with 12 different disaster sites including hurricane harvey victims and those affected by the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri.
If you would like to help out with this amazing project you can donate to the organization here, or sign up here to volunteer for the organization here.