Author: Elias Piña, Program Director

As Second Harvest celebrates Hunger Action Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, we’d like to share the story of an agency partner that has supported and empowered a community since 2017.

Latinos en Spokane, a Latino-led organization in Spokane, Washington, works to help meet the needs of the growing Latino and immigrant population through community engagement. Latinos en Spokane provides a variety of services, including legal clinics, immigration support, health coaching—and most recently, El Mercadito, an outdoor market.

El Mercadito, which translates to “the market,” is held the last Saturday of each month at a local park. It provides access to fresh cultural foods and is not limited to the Latino community. “We see people from different backgrounds, and our mercadito is for everyone in the community,” says El Mercadito manager Andres Sanchez.

The outdoor market replicates the experience of Latino markets found in other parts of North and Central America. Lively Latino music plays in the background as visitors browse booths lined with traditional serape-patterned cloth and adorned with paper banners (papel picado). Handmade goods and household supplies from local Latino vendors are featured, along with informational booths, a free health clinic and Zumba classes.

El Mercadito relies on food support from Second Harvest and other community partners to keep the monthly markets going, especially with the increase in clients who have attended recent events.

“In order to continue to be successful, we need the support from Second Harvest,” said Sanchez. “Thanks to Second Harvest for providing us with support at El Mercadito.”

August brought approximately 150 households to the market, with the staff of Latinos en Spokane distributing around 4,100 pounds of fresh food. Gratitude from attendees encourages Sanchez and other members of Latinos en Spokane to continue providing El Mercadito events.

“We see that every person is appreciative, and they let us know through our social media or when they are coming to our distributions.”

There are no requirements to receive food. Sanchez “welcomes everyone in the community to take advantage of this program” or stop by to see what El Mercadito has to offer.

Second Harvest is proud to celebrate its partnership with Latinos en Spokane and looks forward to supporting their future El Mercadito events.

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