By Natalie Anderson
What began as a food truck has blossomed into a popular, unique storefront that provides quality meals all while giving back to both local and overseas communities. Owners Whitley Dykes and his wife Kunyu Li met in China and later married, moving back to the Auburn area in 2016 with the idea of opening their own business to make a difference.
The couple partnered with an organization called “Empowering Young Warriors Asia,” which is a discipleship and mentor program that teaches kids life skills, their identity in God and the ability to have an impact wherever they are, no matter their circumstances. “Dumps Like A Truck,” the food truck, is focused on overseas donations, giving a portion of its profits and all cash tips. After four months of having a food truck, the couple found a storefront space that took six months to convert.
“(We felt that) a specialty bao shop would be very big for the Chinese community who feel far away from home but can get the taste of home here,” said Dykes.
Currently, the bao shop is located next to the Goalpost at 196 N. Donahue Drive, but will be relocating to downtown Auburn within the upcoming months. Because of COVID-19, the inside of the restaurant is closed, but there is a “to-go” window with cones lined up outside so customers can practice social distancing.
The “bao hop” service is being offered for curbside delivery during this time. Hours of operation have been changed to 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18 is the last day to stop by the North Donahue Drive location before moving to the new storefront location in downtown Auburn with hopes to open mid-May.
“My wife and I want to make sure that with our final weeks (at the current location) we continue to serve our community well and finish well,” Dykes said. “We are in contact with local leaders and organizations who are going to help us identify families in need, but we also need you to help us find families.”
Their goal is to provide about 100 hot meals nightly Wednesday through Friday for families in need with boxes being available for pickup between 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
“If you or a family you know need this, you can come pick up from our window, no questions asked,” the couple wrote in a Facebook post. “We just ask that you contact us in advance with any special needs or if larger families need to be fed (so we can plan well),” finished the Facebook post.
A portion of the storefront’s earnings goes overseas, but the cash tips received are donated to the local community such as a family in need of gas in their car or help with their bills for the month.
“It’s always been in our DNA, it’s just who we are,” Dykes added.
Every Wednesday is “Hump Day Bump Day” where single mothers and pregnant women eat for free.
“The big thing is for people to remember the heart behind the business.. We want people to know we’re here to serve the community, food is the minor part to it,” Dykes said.
Be sure to follow their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram for daily menu options and updates on the new storefront location.