Feldman Shepherd, along with two other plaintiffs’ personal
injury law firms, recently donated funds for the purchase of a Mobile Teaching
Kitchen by Vetri Community Partnership in honor of the victims of a catastrophic
food truck explosion in 2014 that killed two people and severely injured
several others in North Philadelphia.
Through our donation, we also pay tribute to an unfulfilled dream of our clients’ family matriarch, the owner of the food truck, who died from her injuries.
On July 1, 2014, a propane cylinder on a food truck
operating in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia suddenly exploded,
engulfing the truck and its occupants in flames. Olga, the 42-year-old owner of
the food truck known as La Parrillada Chapina, and her daughter Jaylin, age 18,
suffered extensive burn injuries that eventually caused their deaths after
The propane cylinder lacked essential safety devices and was not legally qualified for use, but was nevertheless regularly and dangerously refilled by U-Haul. We represented Olga and Jaylin’s family in a lawsuit against U-Haul as they coped with the sudden, horrific loss of their loved ones. Together with other plaintiffs’ firms representing several victims of the explosion and fire, we achieved a groundbreaking financial settlement for all the victims in June 2018.
An Unfulfilled Dream
Olga had always dreamed of owning a restaurant, and her La
Parrillada Chapina food truck was to be a stepping stone to that ultimate goal.
She loved sharing her authentic, homemade Central American cuisine with her
family and community. She was widely known as a kind and compassionate person.
When someone was without money but approached her truck window in need of a hot
meal or drink, she always served them, adding words of encouragement and
Jaylin was an intelligent, capable high school student who
was about to enter her senior year. She was working at La Parrillada Chapina,
helping her mother, when the explosion occurred.
Our Human Bonds
While we hope that the financial settlement of the lawsuit brought
some closure to the victims and will be a catalyst to the adoption of
corrective measures to improve propane dispensing safety in order to prevent
future catastrophes, often it is our human bonds that comfort the afflicted.
That is why we make today’s donation.
Vetri Community Partnership is a nonprofit organization
founded in 2008 to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating
and healthy living. Founded by chef Marc Vetri and restaurateur Jeff Benjamin, Vetri
presently operates two Mobile Teaching
Kitchens. The Mobile Teaching Kitchens are modified food trucks carrying
everything needed to teach pop-up cooking classes and conduct demonstrations at
schools, community events, and farmers markets. The classes use fresh and
affordable ingredients from local produce markets.
The goal of the Mobile Teaching Kitchens is to bridge the
gap to healthy eating by showing how simple, affordable and approachable making
delicious from-scratch dishes at home can be.
“Teaching kids and adults how to cook and providing them
with positive experiences around healthy food inspires them to make better-informed
choices and, in the process, reduces the chances of nutrition-related diseases,
such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” Vetri Community Partnership CEO
Marlene Olshan said.
With the purchase of the third food truck, Vetri, which has reached
more than 10,000 people with its two existing Mobile Teaching Kitchens, will
have the capacity to bring healthy eating skills to a wider audience. Unlike
the other two trucks, the new truck will be equipped with cooking equipment
that can be brought indoors, which will allow Vetri to have a positive impact when
weather conditions otherwise would be a barrier.
Mobile Teaching Kitchen participants have left events
“I learned today that my daughter likes raw zucchini.” —
“It was awesome to see our students getting involved with
the recipe and working together to make the Cucumber Salad.” – Jeremy
“I’m not usually a
cabbage eater … But this is really good!” — Dorrie
“I would never expect these flavors to go together so well. This
is delicious!” – Vanessa
We believe Olga would have loved to hear these comments,
which are consistent with her passion in life — to bring well cooked, authentic
food to others, and to help the community whenever possible!
We hope that the many people whose lives were shattered by
the horrific 2014 explosion will find some comfort in the human bonds that the new
Mobile Teaching Kitchen will create.
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