Fresh tomatoes, avocados and tortillas are just a sampling of the foods available for free at El Mercadito. Operating monthly, Latinos en Spokane stocks the market with an array of culturally relevant foods, fulfilling an important need for the Latino community that often goes unmet by local food banks. Since the advent of COVID-19, the market has served as a trusted gathering place for locals to access more than just fresh vegetables.
With support from Innovia, organizers have partnered with local healthcare agencies to provide COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, alongside the resources already offered at the monthly market. For many in the Latino community, language barriers, financial concerns or mistrust stand in the way of easy access to vaccines and basic healthcare. With familiar faces, informational booths staffed by community activists and free access to a variety of resources, El Mercadito has become a safe space for the local Latino community to seek and receive meaningful aid, whether a vaccination or an answer to a healthcare question.
This summer, grantmaking from Innovia allowed trusted leaders from Latinos en Spokane to expand their vaccine outreach efforts beyond El Mercadito. Throughout the summer, the nonprofit hosted a variety of vaccine-centered events. To honor the long days of construction and food service workers, organizers hosted a late-night taco dinner and vaccine clinic. A “Health Day” at Comunidad Cristiana Church served to build trust, provide free health services and distribute vaccines within the faith-based circles of the Latino community.
Thanks to the outreach efforts of Latinos en Spokane and the generosity of our donors, the Latino community of Spokane is building toward a stronger, healthier future.