Kent food truck owner feeds the homeless with Creole Soul
A man in Kent is being honored for his big heart and kind, Creole soul. Hampton Isom, a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines, runs a food truck called Creole Soul on the side. He serves that stick-to-your-ribs kind of food, like gumbo and jambalaya, inspired by his childhood in New Orleans.
While his childhood may have had a lot of soul, it didn’t have a lot of food. Isom says he grew up poor and relied on food stamps to eat.
Now, as a grown man, he’s able to make sure others don’t go hungry.
“I take my food truck out to sell food at Lowe’s or go to wineries and breweries,” Isom said. “But, when I’m done, I have this food that I know I’m not going to use again. And the best place to place it is in someone’s stomach … and, why not a homeless person’s stomach?”
The food Isom doesn’t sell, he gives away to homeless people. He says it’s not just the leftovers. About once a month, he packs his truck and serves food to people experiencing homelessness. He even turns away paying customers.
“I get in my pick-up truck and drive around to see how many people are out,” Isom said. “I’ll get a head count, then I’ll come back to my commissary kitchen and prepare the meals. And I’ll go right back out and distribute to them.”
He’ll sometimes park the food truck by bus stops. When people get off the bus, they see a sign that reads, “If you’re hungry, step up to the window. I’ll be glad to feed you.”
Isom says that when people step up, they usually ask, “How much does it cost?”
“I say, ‘It’s absolutely free.’ So, just tell me what you want, and how much you want. And please, tell the person behind you so they can come as well.'”
Isom’s kindness recently caught the eye of a co-worker at Alaska Airlines, who nominated him for an award by the Brawny paper towel brand.
The “Brawny Giants Initiative” recognizes people doing extraordinary things to help people impacted by the pandemic.
Isom won the award, recognizing him as a true giant in heart, not to mention, in stature. As a former professional basketball player, he stands 7 feet tall.
“I had no idea I would even be considered,” he said. “It’s an old brand, I kind of grew up with it. So, you know, it’s kind of cool to win something like that.”
Along with the award, he also won a whole lot of free paper towels and a donation toward the nonprofit sector of his business. Though, Isom says he was already getting a lot back.
“I get nothing but joy. I’ve been hungry, I’ve been cold,” he said. “The joy that I have in my heart is enough for me, you know what I’m saying, … I feel great about it when I can feed so many people and go home and smile about it, and at the same time, I don’t have any dishes to clean.”
To learn more about his nonprofit, or maybe just get some gumbo, you can visit Isom’s website.