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Food truck serving Hurricane Irma victims forced to shut down by city manager

(Triple J's BBQ/Facebook)
September 21, 2017

A food truck operating during the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida was forced to shut down by the city manager, despite the town of Green Cove Springs having very few places that served food in the wake of the storm, Clay Today reported.

Last week, when Triple J’s BBQ truck was setting up outside a restaurant, a number of people lined up at the truck to eat hot barbecue. However, two police cruisers drove up into the parking lot and told Jack Roundtree, the operator of the food truck, to pack up his food and leave.

The police officers told Roundtree that he had to shut it down because of the city manager’s orders. Roundtree was forced to pack up because he didn’t have a permit.

Many of the city’s food spots were not serving food at the time and demand for food was high. A local McDonald’s ran out of food around 2:00 p.m. that day, and Roundtree wanted to help the community.

“Anybody in a utility vehicle we would feed for free. If they came in a utility vehicle, they were going to eat,” Roundtree said.

One person who witnessed the food truck get shut down posted on Facebook.

Bettie Tune wrote:

“Just saw a BBQ food truck set up in town. GREAT!! Wanted to stop and get a good lunch for the guys helping us. When I pulled in, there was a Green Cove Springs police sitting there. OK, everyone has to eat, and the choices are very limited right now. Starting to talk to one of the guys from the food truck and found out that the “city manager” had sent her police to make them leave. This is such a great little town, but it seems like the people who run it do their best to keep it from progressing. THANKS Green Cove Springs City Manager. Shame on you!”

Roundtree decided to drive over to St. Johns County when a highway patrolman asked if he considered setting up his truck in Palatka.

Roundtree said that the didn’t want Palatka to do the same thing that Green Cove Springs did and shut him down. The officer called Palatka’s mayor, who said that anyone with hot food could serve it because the city had no power and all restaurants were shut down.

However, by the time the officer got in contact with the mayor, Roundtree had other commitments, Clay Today reported.

Roundtree was previously encouraged to serve people “during Green Cove’s monthly Saturday-in-the-Park event without a permit,” according to Clay Today.