Individuals with autism raise money with drive-through food festival

CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- It's been a long summer for festival fiends and campers alike, who have had their hobbies placed on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meant that Kamp for Kids, which specializes in providing free programs like these, couldn't pursue their normal plans for the year. The non-profit focuses on improving the lives of at-risk youth as well as children and adults with autism.

The shutdowns particularly affected individuals with autism, who often rely on engagement activities.

"I have autism and I know that people with autism struggle with, like, communication and such," said Emily Savrin. She paraded through the parking lot at the Cherry Hill Mall today, selling cotton candy at the Kamp for Kids Drive-Through Food Truck Festival.

The creator of the organization, Tim Morton, looks inward when planning programs for these communities.

"I grew up, myself, as an underprivileged child, so my heart goes out to kids who can't afford to go to camp," he said. "One of my daughters was diagnosed with autism, Asperger's to be precise, when she was 6 years old. So, my heart goes out to families with children with autism," he added.
That's why all the proceeds from today's food truck festival will fund programs for those with autism.

"It's nice to help the Lord and to serve his children," said Tony Dougherty, who joined Emily in volunteering today. "Just to help out the community and do something positive is uplifting," he added.

They maneuvered through dozens of cars who came to pick up their food social-distance style. The drive-through festival was designed with the pandemic in mind to limit the amount of interactions between customers and food trucks.

Amanda Bowens, the creator of Giambrone's "The Cheesesteak Champs" Food Truck, thinks this style is the future for her foodservice community.

"We're very excited to be able to help families," she added about today's event. "It helps our business stay afloat."

Kamp for Kids plans to host such festivals every several weeks, with the next planned for Saturday, September 26 at Moorestown Mall.

To learn more, visit their website.

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