WESTCHASE — Ben Weiner was watching The Great Food Truck Race on TV one day when he says he "fell in love with the concept of a mobile gourmet restaurant."
Too bad, though, that the local food truck craze hasn't found much traction in northwest Hillsborough County.
That's what gave the 16-year-old an idea for a trendy community service project, a graduation requirement for International Baccalaureate students at Robinson High School.
Ben figured he could organize a food truck rally in Westchase — that's the fun part.
Then he would donate a portion of the proceeds to charity — that's the service part.
Come Friday, the high school junior will see how it all works out.
The Westchase Charitable Food Truck Rally, staged in the parking lot of the West Park Village Swim & Tennis Center on Parley Drive, will offer fare from six food trucks: American Wiener, Tasty Stacy, Keep'n It Reel, Burger Culture, the Cuppin' Cake and Taco Bus. The Westchase Community Association is sponsoring Ben's truck rally project, and 15 percent of the proceeds from sales will go to the American Heart Association and Boy Scout Troop 46.
Ben says he chose the Heart Association because he has lost two grandparents to heart disease and has a friend whose nephew was born with a heart problem. Also, he is a candidate for Eagle Scout and wants to raise money for scholarships.
The food truck rally is in conjunction with Westchase Family Movie Night, where moviegoers will see Spider-Man 3.
Ben said he has been working to organize the event by approaching food truck vendors with his proposal since early January. Several vendors, he said, were grateful for an opportunity to venture into Westchase, where Ben lives with his parents, Bruce and Kristi Weiner.