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Food truck stolen from Oakland chef who feeds homeless

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — An Oakland chef is devastated after his trailer was stolen right from the front of his home in broad daylight.

Chef Halihl Guy said he bought the trailer with COVID stimulus money earlier this year, and along with helping his catering business, the trailer has also been vital for his personal mission: feeding and clothing the Bay Area’s homeless population.

Guy got his start in West Oakland, working at Tanya Holland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen before training in fine dining at Quince and Cotogna in San Francisco.

Now that he has his own business, he said he has made it his mission to never throw anything away. So he would pack up his trailer, equipped with everything he needs to keep the food nice and hot, and took it around to homeless encampments.

He calls the theft a “hiccup” for his business and his community service work.

Guy left his home on Newton Ave in the Cleveland Heights neighborhood Monday morning to run errands when the theft happened, around 7:20 a.m. And he believes he was being watched – with the thief possibly waiting for him to leave before making their move.

According to a neighbor’s account, she assumed the idling vehicle on their street was Guy. When she peeked out, she noticed the dark green Ford F150 did not belong to him. Unfortunately, witnesses couldn’t get the license plates.

Guy said before he had his own trailer, he would rent a U-Haul for large catering events. When business began picking up, the trailer allowed him to take on more clients, and make larger trips to grocery stores without hiring extra help.

“I might have to turn down a few jobs if I don’t have the bandwidth or equipment to cover that. If I have parties of 200 people, and I don’t have my hot boxes anymore to transfer food I cooked in the commercial kitchen…. I’ll have to cook on site of the event,” Guy said.

But Guy said it’s also about the people who don’t hire him.

“Seeing people in this pandemic and seeing this reaction, people now depend on the sites I go to throughout the week. They look forward to seeing me,” Guy said. He even brings clothing items along, donations from his friends and clients who know he visits homeless people in the Bay Area.

Guy said he was inspired to work with nonprofits like Unity Council after doing community service hours as a result of tickets. “Instead of picking up trash, I decided to donate my time to GLIDE Memorial Church.” He did this for about 4-5 months. “From working there I was inspired. Feeding people and seeing their faces… that was a feeling that never left me.”

He said he is getting by now without the trailer thanks to help from some friends and their equipment. He’s also hoping to buy a new trailer, especially ahead of the holiday season.

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