Thomasville food truck inspired by local girl with autism will help people with disabilities

North Carolina

THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — A Thomasville family is focused on helping people in the community who are autistic and non-verbal just like their daughter Julia.

Julia Canada loves jumping and running and is learning to try new foods, but her journey through life hasn’t always been full of fun.

“It’s hard,” said Susan Canada, Julia’s mom. “There are days that we honestly just get through the day, and there are days when she’s thriving.”

At the age of one, doctors diagnosed Julia with moderate non-verbal autism. She makes sounds and points at things she needs or wants, but she doesn’t use words.

“I was scared because I heard of autism before, but I had no clue what it consisted of. I just knew they were different,” Susan said.

Julia’s parents Susan and Brian had to learn the best way to help their daughter get through each day. Then they started to think about the future.

With Brian’s 25 years of restaurant industry experience, they started cooking up an idea: a food truck.

  • Julia Canada (credit: Canada family)
  • Julia Canada (credit: Canada family)

“Let’s do it, but let’s involve Julia’s peers,” Brian said. “Individuals with physical handicaps, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities.”

They’re trying to raise $15,000 to get this dream on the road with a food truck they’re calling JuJu’s Mobile Diner.

“It’s not going to save everybody. It’s not going to help everybody, but it’s going to spread awareness,” Brian said. “It will also give an opportunity to these men and women who don’t normally have an opportunity.”

It’s a chance at a job and a hope it will start a conversation about accepting people of all abilities in the Thomasville community.

“There are things that she can do regardless of being able to talk or not talk. She deserves those opportunities just the same as everyone else in this society,” Brian said.

Brian and Susan have social media accounts documenting their lives learning about autism and raising Julia.

You can search “Julia’s Journey” on Facebook and Instagram.

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