by Luke Putvin | Lynnwood Times Staff
On May 2, 14 restaurants across Snohomish County participated in the Curbside Lunch Giveaway. The lunch was to further promote the 2020 Census and make sure everyone participates. Additionally, the event acted as a promotion of small restaurants and businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding was provided by the United Way of Snohomish County and the Census Alliance. Other organizations involved included Communities of Color Coalition, Connect Casino Road, Leti, Creating Open Roads to Equity, the NAACP, WAGRO and the UTSA.
Among the 14 restaurants that participated were a few local restaurants including Bantaba African Restaurant, Caravan Kebab, Todo Mexico and Dijah’s Kitchen.
Shahzad Raja, owner of Caravan Kebab, said about 200 people came by in the couple hours the curbside lunch lasted.
“We got a lot of appreciation from the people,” Raja said. He spoke to the need of a meal for many in the community right now. “It was needed, so if I have the ability to do it, why wouldn’t I? We are all human beings, and we are living in this world together, so we have to take care of each other… Especially if anyone is having a difficult time, you have to support as much as you can.”
Raja shared that he has lost a lot of business similar to others due to not being able to allow dine-in services. Additionally, he does not work with food delivering services because the companies charge a percentage that would prevent him from being able to keep the current quality.
“I have to keep the food quality, and I don’t want to destroy our morals,” Raja said. He focused on the importance of keeping the support local, and since many of the food delivery services are headquartered in other states, he said that the money wouldn’t be going back into the community.
“The glow that healthy and nourishing food brings on human faces can never be attainable by any other source. Food symbolically serves as a candle whose light not only puts our bodies the zone of visibility but also emanates an aesthetic spiritual energy to look into our souls,” Raja said.