Soul food unites community


By Glenn Battishill - gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com



Leia Riley, Chace Riley, Reggie Hopkins and Ryan Hopkins play Jenga while waiting for their food Saturday. The event also featured games, music and prizes from local teacher Francine Butler, who asked questions about figures from local African American history.

Leia Riley, Chace Riley, Reggie Hopkins and Ryan Hopkins play Jenga while waiting for their food Saturday. The event also featured games, music and prizes from local teacher Francine Butler, who asked questions about figures from local African American history.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

Richard Upton, owner of J. Gumbo’s Delaware, photobombs Ava Johnson, Ericka Johnson and Olivia Johnson Saturday after serving them food at the African American Heritage Council’s Soul Food Soirée event. The event was held at the Food Truck Depot on East Central Avenue.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

The Delaware African American Heritage Council held its final event of Black History Month Saturday by putting on a “Soul Food Soirée” at The Food Truck Depot in Delaware.

The event was organized by Tamika Vinson-Reid, chair of the heritage council’s Black History Committee, and featured food trucks and pop-up restaurants from J. Gumbo’s, Jimmie G’s BBQ, What the French Toast and Omar’s Caribbean Cuisine.

Vinson-Reid spent much of the event assisting her husband, Omar Reid, who runs Omar’s Caribbean Cuisine. After the event, Vinson-Reid said she was pleased with the turnout.

“We’re thrilled about the positive community response to the first-time event as it was our goal to bring people together from all backgrounds to enjoy a common unifier — food,” Vinson-Reid said. “We also wanted to bring greater visibility to African American food truck and restaurant owners, and caterers who bring a diverse dining experience to our community.”

The event featured games, trivia about local African-American figures, and music courtesy of Cloud Entertainment.

Cloud Entertainment’s owner, Eric Cloud, said he was happy to play music at the event.

“I’m glad to be a part of black history in Delaware,” Cloud said, adding he enjoyed the facts about local black history. “It’s good to be educated. Everyone is doing a great job.”

Francine Butler, a teacher at Hayes High School, ran the trivia competition that asked questions about local black figures.

“(I like to see) the community coming out and eating some good food and learning some black history in the process,” she said.

Butler added she saw several familiar faces at the event.

“It’s wonderful. I see former students that are now working in businesses,” Butler said. “I feel like part of the fabric of the community now. I want everybody to have that experience of feeling like a valued community member.”

Richard Upton, owner of J. Gumbo’s Delaware, spoke at the event and thanked the heritage council for putting the event together.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “It’s very much needed in Delaware, and it’s been very well-received.”

Upton said he was happy he was able to attend event, even if he was still serving food during it.

“The downside of owning a business is that you get stuck in your business a lot,” he joked.

Upton added he was very impressed by the work that Vinson-Reid and the heritage council have done in just two years.

“Going from the ground up, they’ve done a good job,” he said.

Upton said he was pleased to see Heidi Kegley, superintendent of Delaware City Schools, at the event. “It’s great that the school is getting more involved. That can’t help but be a good thing.”

After the event, Vinson-Reid thanked The Food Truck Depot for co-sponsoring the event, and she thanked all the vendors for participating. She added the event was such a success that the heritage council is already planning next year’s event and is considering doing a similar event this summer.

Leia Riley, Chace Riley, Reggie Hopkins and Ryan Hopkins play Jenga while waiting for their food Saturday. The event also featured games, music and prizes from local teacher Francine Butler, who asked questions about figures from local African American history.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2020/03/web1_DSC_0536.jpgLeia Riley, Chace Riley, Reggie Hopkins and Ryan Hopkins play Jenga while waiting for their food Saturday. The event also featured games, music and prizes from local teacher Francine Butler, who asked questions about figures from local African American history. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

Richard Upton, owner of J. Gumbo’s Delaware, photobombs Ava Johnson, Ericka Johnson and Olivia Johnson Saturday after serving them food at the African American Heritage Council’s Soul Food Soirée event. The event was held at the Food Truck Depot on East Central Avenue.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2020/03/web1_DSC_0551.jpgRichard Upton, owner of J. Gumbo’s Delaware, photobombs Ava Johnson, Ericka Johnson and Olivia Johnson Saturday after serving them food at the African American Heritage Council’s Soul Food Soirée event. The event was held at the Food Truck Depot on East Central Avenue. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

By Glenn Battishill

gbattishill@aimmediamidwest.com

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.