Jeff Halverson's earliest memories are of food. In elementary school he set up a restaurant in his driveway, and he's had the dream of serving people food ever since.
After spending seven years as an officer at the West Linn Police Department, the last four of which he worked as the school resource officer at West Linn High School, Halverson will be hanging up his hat in September and rolling up his sleeves to serve the community in a different way.
He's pursuing his longtime dream and opening a food cart.
"I grew up just being always hungry and loving to cook. ... I can't remember not cooking," Halverson said.
Jackpot Foods, a name inspired by his dog Jack, will be stationed in Oregon City alongside several other carts in a new "food cart pod" at Oregon City Brewing Co.
Jackpot Foods will take Halverson's weekend hobby of cooking barbecue dishes to the next step.
The menu will include pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and a fried chicken sandwich called The Bird.
Halverson said he hopes to find a way for his food cart to give back to the community, whether that be through sponsoring a school club or working with a local shelter. He also said he'd like to use Jackpot Foods to continue working with the LtP Foundation, an organization that assists families of children with cancer.
Halverson is raising funds through a GoFundMe to help pay for the trailer, equipment and government fees.
Donors had raised over $6,000 as of Tuesday, June 29.
"It's nice to see a lot of community support, so I really do appreciate everything that everybody's doing to help us out," Halverson said.
Donors get something out of it, too. Donate as little as $25 and Halverson promises a free sandwich of your choosing; $50 will get three free sandwiches and a $100 donation will secure eight free sandwiches and a bottle of Jackpot Heat Sauce.
Halverson said that as a guy who loves to eat, the idea of making food but not eating it will take some getting used to.
"It's a huge life change for myself and my family, but I'm just so excited and looking forward to opening up and being able to sell and make great food," he said.
Visit the Jackpot Foods GoFundMe page here.
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