When customers visit Jocho’s tacos in Pasco, Washington they always look forward to the great food and the big smile coming from America Montana’s face. Montana received $500 dollars, from generous Hispanic Food Network fans, who stepped up to support our ‘Restaurant Worker Relief Fund’.
The single mom who’s worked at Jocho’s for nearly 3 years says she was overwhelmed with joy when she heard the news and the first thing she thought was: how she can give back to others?
“I was thinking about paying a few bills and buying gifts for others so I can pay it forward. I want us to keep growing as a community and get closer. When our customers come here, I like to remember their names. They are not just a customer – they are our friends. They trust us to make their food – and that means something to me – for them to see it’s coming from our heart,” said Montana.
The Hispanic Food Network heard about America Montana through the Downtown Pasco Development Authority. DPDA’s Executive Director Gustavo Gutierrez-Gomez says Jocho’s is a great community partner that does a lot for the city of Pasco. When he heard about HFNTV’s fund, he immediately thought of America Montana.
“It’s great that you trust us with this. We work with a lot of businesses who’ve been affected in this downtown area. Jocho’s has been great to their employees. They’re still working with them and creating schedules and their employees are still giving back to the community. So to get to know them – and to know that they care about our community – aligns with DPDA’s mission, which is working for the business community downtown and creating an atmosphere where people can come and enjoy it and also create economic vitality downtown,” Gutierrez-Gomez.
Jocho’s owner Jorge Sanchez says the money couldn’t have gone to a better a person. Sanchez says that America Montana is not just a great employee but also an amazing person. Sanchez says America is always positive and has a big smile for customers and is constantly giving back to her neighbors in the Tierra Vida neighborhood where she lives in Pasco.
“She really deserves it because she’s a hard worker and she’s a single mom with 2 kids so it’s going to be nice for her,” said Sanchez.
“We do a lot of seasonal things for residents in our neighborhood…for example, on Mother’s Day we gave cakes and presents for the mother’s in the community,” said Montana.
Hispanic Food Network founder Mike Gonzalez says he’s proud of the HFNTV fans who gave to the fund. “I’m so happy that the folks who support Hispanic Food Network were so generous. I’m just estatic that such a good person like America is able to receive the funds. She’s someone who’s always thinking about other people. It’s a real blessing to be able to put that money in her hands,” said Gonzalez.
Montana says despite the challenges of COVID-19 loyal customers continue to frequent their food truck at 1st & Lewis and the restaurant that recently reopened near 5th & Lewis.
“Our food is so good and when people try it they always love it,” said Montana.
Jorge Sanchez showed us the menu that’s filled with handmade tortillas, signature torta sandwiches like the Cubano and a variety of Mexico City style meats that people love. “We have handmade tortillas and all the plates in here are rare to find because we come from Mexico City and we have tried to bring the street food of Mexico City here…like the alambre” said Sanchez
Sanchez says the COVID-19 crisis has made things really challenging but he says loyal customers are helping keep him going and he will continue to support his employees. “Customers aren’t coming as often but we are starting to see more as the days go on. We are hopeful that business will increase as the Governor continues to lift restrictions. In the meantime, we will continue to support our employees, customers and the community,” said Sanchez.
“It’s like a family relationship around. Right now it’s hard times but they will eventually pass. Jorge and Luz have been very supportive. They have told me you don’t need to worry about your job. We will support you during this time,” said Montana.