Serving hope from a food truck

Oct 29, 2018

In the New Testament, a woman named Dorcas is known for her charity and her acts of love for the needy. A Marion woman with the Aramaic translation of that name, Tabitha, is honoring her namesake by volunteering her time at a food truck. 

Tabitha Tripp, a lifelong Marion resident, spends each Thursday night and the fourth and fifth Saturday of each month volunteering for Mobile Ministries, and organization which serves food to those in need in New Bedford. 

According to Tripp, the truck makes runs six days a week, Monday through Saturday. She began volunteering at the truck in 2013 and eventually became a team leader in the organization, participating as a church member at South Coast Community Church in Fairhaven. 

“This is really out in the community where our food truck goes,” she said. “It’s more than just giving people food and clothing, it’s all about giving them choices because everyone deserves that.”

People who approach the truck can receive hotdogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, fruits, coffee, water, hats, mittens, boots and other necessities from the volunteer teams.

Tripp added that what makes the organization unique is the prayer and hope that accompany the meal. 

“We were praying for this man named Kevin who had some problems for a number of years, and then you just started to see God working,” she said. “Now, Kevin volunteers and he got a job.”

Tripp explained that these success stories are why she continues her volunteer efforts. 

Her work for Mobile Ministry has even earned Tripp an award from the Inter Church Council of Greater New Bedford, though she insists the individual award is not her’s alone. 

“It’s nice to be recognized but I am only as good as the people who work with me,” she said. “The award truly belongs to everybody, not just me.”

George Bailey, CEO of Mobile Ministries and the person who nominated her for the award, said that Tripp often goes above and beyond her duties as a volunteer.

“Her heart and soul is with this program and I don’t know anybody else that is more dedicated to it than her,” said Bailey.

Bailey added that Tripp’s fundraising efforts over the years put her on track for the nomination in the first place.

In 2012, Tripp began a skydiving fundraiser in which volunteers raise money for Mobile Ministries and jump out a plane. For some, skydiving may be a little too extreme, so Tripp decided to organize a “ropes course” fundraiser this year to reach at a wider group of volunteers. 

Tripp’s giving nature doesn’t end with Mobile Ministries, and before her work there she volunteered with Mercy, Meals & More to bring warm meals to people that needed them.

In June, Tripp married her seventh grade sweetheart Tom Cooper. At their wedding, Tripp had guests pass on buying her gifts and asked them instead to make a donation to Mobile Ministries. 

“When I brought her name up for the nomination, the executive director of the council said they were on sold on her for the award as soon as I told them about the wedding money,” said Bailey. 

Tripp, who received the award on Sunday, said that she does not need be awarded for her work with Mobile Ministries. She volunteers because it is her passion and what she loves to do.