‘It’s really a ministry’

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Nelson hopes his food truck will help him help others

By Bennett Horne

James Nelson believes he has been called by God to feed people.

And if his new food business is successful, he will be able to focus more effort on that calling.

Last week Nelson opened his own food truck located in the drive thru area of the old del Norte Credit Union Building in White Rock. The big red truck is open Monday through Friday from 6-10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the old drive thru area offers plenty of shade cover for the picnic tables that are set up for those customers who would like to sit and eat.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” Nelson said Tuesday. “It’s really a ministry. I have a calling to feed people. The purpose of the truck is to actually make money, but we’re hoping to make enough to fund feeding the homeless on Saturdays. That’s the goal behind it.”

Nelson said he and his wife, Beverly, who is the librarian at Chamisa Elementary School in White Rock, hope to start offering free meals to the homeless at least one Saturday a month while building up to the goal of offering free meals every Saturday of the month.

“Somebody gave us a number for some people in Pojoaque who are wanting to do the same thing,” Nelson said. “We’d like to work with them. Hopefully we can get started on that within the next two to three weeks.”

During the earlier portion of the day Nelson’s menu includes $7 breakfast burritos and $6 breakfast bowls. The lunchtime menu consists of two soft tacos for $7, chicken and pork on a stick for $3 each and a deep-fried all beef jumbo dog on a bun for $3.

“I’ve been told by many people that my food is worth two meals,” Nelson said. “I sell two tacos for $7, but they fill the plate. People tell me they eat one for lunch and one for dinner. Or they share it with somebody.”

Nelson also has options for extra meat, chile (including his very own house chile), cheese and salsa.

“I give a lot of food for a good price and I’m going to try to keep it that way,” he said.

Customers can also purchase containers of Nelson’s house chile as well as any of his 41 flavors of homemade fudge, the candied green chile he calls “chandy” and jars of his very own chile syrup.

“You can mix the chile syrup into drinks like tea to make chile tea,” he said. “My wife likes to take a glass of water, add a little bit of lime juice and a couple tablespoons of the chile syrup and it tastes like a chile limeade.”

Nelson, who noted that the fudge will not be available until Aug. 20, said he would like to get his customers used to the process of texting in their orders to cut down on their wait time.

“If they do that and tell me what time they want to pick up their order I can have it ready and waiting on them when they show up,” he said.

That number is 505-709-8496.

Nelson said the first week he was open for business customers would give him tips after purchasing their meals even though he didn’t want to be taking tips. Now he’s decided to use the tip money to get he and his wife closer to their goal of helping others.

“People started giving me tips but I don’t keep the tips,” he said. “All my tips go towards the funding of feeding other people. It’s just a good thing to do with the tips.”

Nelson said in the meantime, if there is someone needing a meal they could stop by his big red truck in White Rock and he would be glad to help them out.

“I’ll always help somebody out in need,” he said. “If there are people who need to be fed here we’d love to feed them. They can just show up here and talk to me. Any business I do is just going to hopefully benefit other people. I believe in passing it down.”