MINNEAPOLIS, MN (July 19, 2018) – Sanctuary Covenant Church has been working with a local organization to help entrepreneurs launch their own food businesses, and this past week, one of its participants—13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner—made international news because of the way the church, city, and community rallied around him when a resident’s complaint could have shut his venture down.
Jaequan had opened a pop-up hot dog stand, Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs, to make extra money to pay for school clothes and other items, but a neighbor complained to the Minneapolis Health Department that the teenager was operating without a license. Rather than close down the venture, however, the department decided to help him bring the business up to standards by making sure he had the necessary equipment, and the department’s employees even paid for his license.
“I like having my own business,” Jaequan told one local news outlet. “I like letting people know just because I’m young doesn’t mean I can’t do.”
His story has been picked up by the local news, National Public Radio, and the BBC among other outlets.
Sanctuary became involved because several times a month during the summer, the church hosts a food truck operated by an entrepreneur who is sponsored by the Northside Economic Opportunity Network, which schedules the dates. Members are encouraged to purchase food from the trucks after the service.
Being 13, Jaequan doesn’t have a truck yet but hopes to when he is old enough. Right now, he sells hot dogs, Polish sausages, and chips from a tabletop underneath a tent.
Faulkner set up his table at the church this past weekend and will be back this Sunday.
The teenager said that next year, he plans to donate 25 cents from every hot dog sold toward raising awareness about youth suicide and depression. He said he has struggled with depression himself.