'I have no words': owner of Galesburg food truck looking for public support

Samuel Lisec
Galesburg Register-Mail
MB's Food Truck opened in September 2022

GALESBURG — Mohammed Ben Youness has started a GoFundMe page after the catalytic converter was stolen from his truck, rendering his family’s sole source of income inoperable.

Youness, the owner and operator of MB’s Food Truck, discovered that his food truck was damaged on Jan. 11 after he drove it to the public square from its parked location outside the Broad Street Armory. 

Youness said he has parked his food truck outside the former armory ever since he opened his business in September 2022, because he thought the building had operating cameras pointed at the lot. He has since learned it doesn’t.

After turning the ignition one day, Youness said he heard a lot of noise and the brakes weren’t working. He added brake fluid and drove it to the public square, only to hear more noise. A look under the vehicle showed that its muffler was dragging on the ground. He called the Galesburg police and an officer told him the muffler appeared to be cut and his converter stolen.

The view from under MB's Food Truck where a part was severed, rendering the business inoperable.

Youness received a $7,500 startup grant for MB’s Food Truck from Galesburg City Council in September but otherwise said he has put all his savings into the new business. 

As his insurance only provides general liability and a number of auto shops he consulted said they don’t have the tools or lifting ability to fix his vehicle, Youness said “there are no words that can describe” how he’s feeling. Youness is the sole breadwinner for his family; he said his wife has been a “homemaker” taking care of their two daughters, age 9 and 13, for the past 15 years.

Youness’s food truck, which offers Moroccan shish kabobs and Mediterranean gyros, is now located in another auto shop that he said is determining whether or not they can help fix it. Youness has worked in the food-service industry for eight years, starting when he moved to Davenport, Iowa from Morocco in 2014. 

More:Knox County Health Board funding deadline is Feb. 29

He said he’s never been in a situation where he had to run a fundraiser before, but “when you have a family, there’s no choice." The GoFundMe page, which he booted up Jan. 12, has a $800 goal. Youness said he could pivot to finding a full-time job, but that would mean walking away from his business.

“If I want to find a job, I will find it within a week, that's not a problem for me,” Younness said. “But that would require me to give up on my business, something that I was always dreaming to have, especially something here in Galesburg.”

Despite the situation having his vehicle vandalized has put him in, Younness said he does not hold a grudge against the person or people who did it, he more feels “sorry for them.”

“I know it's not right, but from where I come from, I can't judge people, even if they stole something from me or they hurt me,” Youness said. “No one knows what people are going through.”

Knox County DA:Sheriff's decision to not enforce assault rifle ban "problematic"

Until his vehicle is fixed, Youness said he wants his customers to know he’s going to do his best to open MB’s Food Truck again as soon as he can.

“I'm confident in this business and that it's going to go big one day. So they just need to be patient and know it's not gone forever, it's just going to take some time to be back on track.”