Food truck owners fight for federal funding

Dreamers Food Truck
Posted at 6:46 PM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 19:58:29-04

MADISON, Tenn. (WTVF) — Federal aid was ripped away from restaurant and food truck owners, and now those impacted want it back.

For Laura Schneider, Doug Williams, and Telisha Williams their world was put on hold during the pandemic. Doug and Telisha are musicians, and Laura is a photographer.

They decided to buy a food truck to pay the bills in 2020. Williams said, "Our income was completely destroyed during the pandemic which led us to opening and starting this business."

Williams said a fire ravaged their truck weeks after they got it. They applied for federal pandemic funding which was supposed to be given to veterans, women, and minority-owned businesses first, but that didn't happen. "Hugely disappointed, total wind out of the sails moment," Williams said.

The priority list was challenged in court and deemed unconstitutional so the Dreamers Food Truck got bumped to the end of the line. "We were awarded $38,000 which would have completely cleared our losses," Williams said.

Co-owner Laura Schneider said it's not fair because they're trying their best to survive. “There are restaurants that had been fully established before then that incurred way larger losses that were promised this funding, made agreements with landlords as soon as they got awarded their grant, hired staff back, reopened, made major equipment updates that they can’t take back.”

Now, they're demanding that Congress put $60 billion into the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

"Talk about changing lives, that’s an end game for a lot of people there’s no other recourse," Schneider said. "There’s money in back rent like they can’t make up overnight."

Right now they're asking the community to call on Congress to get the job done so food trucks and restaurants can stay open.

Schneider said, "They will go under, there isn’t time..."

Congressman Jim Cooper's office has contacted the Dreamers about what happened to them.