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Treasure Valley community saves local food truck from going out of business

Brown Shuga Soul Food got the funds it needed to stay in business after coronavirus shutdowns.

BOISE, Idaho — COVID-19 is creating an economic storm for locally-owned food businesses in the Treasure Valley, forcing some owners to close their restaurants.

But thanks to the generosity of the community,  Brown Shuga Soul Food owner Yvonne Anderson-Thomas does not have to worry about closing her food truck anytime soon.

Anderson-Thomas’s friend Angie created a fundraiser page on Facebook with a goal of raising $5,000, but the fund is currently on its way to $10,000 after it gained traction in the Treasure Valley community.

Anderson-Thomas says her business serving Southern, Cajun, and BBQ dishes was the first four original food trucks in Boise.

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“Some of my specialties are giant smoked turkey leg, jerk chicken with a coconut mango rice, mac and cheese, red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, and all kinds of good stuff," she said.

“I make deserts too, so I’m a pastry chef as well,” Anderson-Thomas added.

Credit: Chase Biefeldt/KTVB
Locals stepped up to support Brown Shuga Soul Food after the pandemic left the food truck struggling.

Anderson-Thomas says the coronavirus hit her bottom line hard after many festivals were canceled this summer.

“There’s really no festivals for the whole summer, which is our busiest time of the year,” she said. “That’s a huge financial hit. I need to be able to still pay all of my bills, people are still looking for those payments, but I have no income, and this is my full-time gig.”

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Anderson-Thomas explained her situation to her friend on the phone, and soon after their conversation, the fundraiser was posted on Facebook, benefitting Brown Suga Soul Food.

The fundraiser set a $5,000 goal, but the fund was approaching $10,000 by Thursday night.

“I guess somebody out there does love their Brown Shuga!” Anderson-Thomas said, laughingly. “I’m a giver. I’m not used to receiving. I guess now I’m getting back some of those good deeds I did in the past.

“My heart is just really happy,” the chef added.

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Yvonne Anderson-Thomas said she plans to use the money from the fundraiser to resume her business, and possibly begin no-contact catering from her food truck, Brown Shuga Soul Food.