Food Truck Festival helps Kamp for Kids mission

It’s always helpful to eat a big meal before a major event.

Kamp For Kid, a local nonprofit that helps children with special needs, recently held a food truck festival in South Philly to help raise funds for a pair of events that it provides for its programs.

On July 28 and 29, the public helped pack the parking lots near Penn’s Landing to help Kamp for Kids reach its goal.

“That Saturday was a heat advisory but Sunday was a beautiful day and we had a lot of people come out,” said Tim Morton, who co-directs Kamp for Kids with his wife Penni. “We really thank Walmart for donating the property for free to us. It helps put a little more money towards our camp and our event rather than if we had to pay for a venue.”

The annual event took place at 1675 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd. in Walmart’s parking lot. There was a variety of tasty options from multiple food trucks as well as vendors, live music, carnival games, face painting, raffles, balloon art and lots of other family fun. The event, which has taken the form of different names over the years and spread its wings to a variety of different places such as Fishtown, University City, Cherry Hill and North Philly, was once again a huge success. It raised more than $4,000 for Kamp for Kids’ mission of benefiting kids with special needs.

“It really helps a lot and of course donations help, too,” Morton said. “It’s really simple. People come and they love delicious food. We get a percentage of food sales and a fee for taking a spot. They eat a lot of food and we are able to pay for two events.”

Those two events are incredible opportunities for individuals in the program. On Labor Day weekend, about 100 individuals will travel to Autism Family Camp at Victory Valley in the Appalachian Mountains. The weekend kicks off with a campfire, smores and songs followed by swimming, fishing, boating, sports, crafts and other fun sensory-friendly activities for the whole family. Parents even get to enjoy a “Fancy Schmancy Date Night” with dinner and dessert while the kids snack on pizza and watch a movie. Families sleep in beautiful comfortable cabins and have the opportunity to relax, bond and make lifelong memories.

The second event is the third annual Temple Owls for Autism Day on Nov. 4 at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly. Amp for Kids will take about 500 individuals to the stadium for a tailgate, a tour of the locker rooms and facilities and seats to watch the Owls take on Navy in college football action. Prior to the game, special needs kids get to high-five the athletes on the field. During halftime, they take part in the action by scoring touchdowns on the field.

“Temple’s mascot gets out there and he’s the lead blocker and Joe Conklin does play-by-play,” Morton said. “It’s really fun.”

It also creates lifelong memories.

“What I see is a bond between the dad and the son or the mom and the kids,” Morton said. “Whether we like to admit it or not, sports is an emotional thing that bonds us. It’s just a great way for a parent to put his arm around a kid and say, ‘Great job scoring that touchdown.’ It’s a very precious thing to see.”

It’s all possible thanks to fundraisers like the food truck festival on a hot summer weekend at Penn’s Landing.

“Without it, we can’t have the day at the football stadium and without it we can’t have the camp,” Morton said. “We just couldn’t do it without the support from events like this.”

Sign-ups for Camp Victory are closed but families with special needs can still sign up for the Temple Owls for Autism game by visiting Volunteers and donations are also needed for all future events. 

“We need volunteers for everything,” Morton said. “It’s a way to have a lot of fun but it’s also a meaningful way to have fun.”