June 11, 2020
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Local Food Trucks are Deployed to Serve Free Lunch in Low-Income Neighborhoods

COLUMBUS – June 8, 2020: Food trucks offered free lunches in Whitehall and on Columbus’ west side over the last two weeks, to serve residents who have been hit hard by the COVID pandemic. Another truck will be deployed to serve lunches at two shelters near downtown that are unable to serve meals for lunch this Saturday, June 13.

It’s part of a collaboration between U.S. Bank and Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). The companies worked together for a Give-Back initiative, to help create a revenue opportunity for local small businesses while addressing the increase in food insecurity that has arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECDI began funding free lunch days soon after the onset of the pandemic lockdown. They deployed trucks from the Food Fort, a restaurant and food truck incubator and innovation lab housed at their Columbus headquarters, to feed first responders and to visit community organizations in low-income neighborhoods.

U.S. Bank teamed up to expand the program by funding three additional free lunch days and offered space to park the trucks in the parking lots of branch locations in low income areas.

“Providing support for free lunch days is a way to show our commitment to our local community and was the right thing to do in a time of need,” said Alicia Townsend, Community Affairs Manager for U.S. Bank’s Ohio Metro Markets and an ECDI board member. “Some of our branch locations near low-income neighborhoods see a lot of foot traffic and could offer a visible location for the trucks. As ECDI is a longstanding partner in Ohio, we saw this as a great opportunity to partner with them to make a difference for our neighbors and small businesses.”
“Free lunch days started as a way to help the people of Columbus and Franklin County while providing income for the small businesses in our Food Fort,” said Inna Kinney, Founder and CEO of ECDI. “U.S. Bank has been an important partner in helping us serve our customers, and now we are grateful for their partnership in serving our greater community through this initiative.”

To help support those who need it most, the organizations worked with Columbus’ Community Shelter Board to identify a need at local shelters for this Saturday’s run.


Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with offices in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Cincinnati and field operations in Toledo. ECDI is also a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC), a U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and one of the top SBA microloan intermediaries in the United States, with a service footprint in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. ECDI fills a gap in the credit industry by offering loans ranging from $750 to $350,000 to underserved entrepreneurs through more than 40 revolving loan funds, including culturally and linguistically appropriate financial literacy and microenterprise training, one-on-one technical assistance (TA), and access to markets through business incubation, making ECDI a one-stop-shop business development center. Since 2004, ECDI has assisted over 17,000 individuals, disbursed over $56.4 million through 2,600 loans, and created and retained over 8,000 jobs via our comprehensive suite of programs. Learn more: ecdi.org

About U.S. Bancorp

U.S. Bancorp, with more than 70,000 employees and $543 billion in assets as of March 31, 2020, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its relationship teams, branches and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, business, wealth management, payment, commercial and corporate, and investment services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank one of the 2020 World’s Most Ethical Companies. Visit U.S. Bank at usbank.com or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.