Cuisine for Clients nourishes local businesses, residents

On a bright, blustery day this week, Cochinito Taqueria made a house call.

The popular restaurant, which opened just over two years ago in downtown Spokane, became the first business to take part in SNAP’s “Cuisine for Clients” program and residents of two SNAP properties – the Alexandria and the Avondale – were the beneficiaries.

For Greg, a longtime resident at the Avondale, the complimentary lunch of chicken tacos, rice and black beans was a welcome, and tasty, surprise.

“This is way, way cool,” he said. “It means a lot that we are being thought of like this. So often, people can feel forgotten.”

Those who donate to Cuisine for Clients are making sure neighbors like Greg don’t feel marginalized at a time when the world is coping with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meals purchased by generous contributions also benefit a local business like Cochinito, which got its start with support from SNAP Financial Access.

“This is a program that SNAP put forward and it’s just an honor that we were included,” said Justin Curtis, co-owner of Cochinito along with Travis Dickinson. “These people were able to get a good meal and it lifted their spirits a bit.”

Like many restaurants, Cochinito is dealing with the effects of Washington’s “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order that has closed or restricted businesses deemed non-essential in an attempt to curtail the spread of the virus. Cochinito is one of many Spokane-area eateries still offering takeout and curbside orders.

“Business is a fraction of what it was before,” said Curtis. “Our takeout was doing well for awhile but we’ve seen that drop off as more people are watching their spending and we get that.”

The latest word from Olympia means businesses like Cochinito will be expected to comply with the current restrictions until at least May 4. In the meantime, Cuisine for Clients will do its small part to ease the burden for those serving the food and those being served. 

“It’s such a blessing,” said Tehra, who lives at the Avondale with several members of her family. “I’m just so grateful for what the community is doing. We’re helping one another. I’m inspired by people who are reaching out right now.”