by Sara Deseran under Charity, Uncategorized with 1 Comment
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
1. I wanted to help our kids’ school, San Francisco Community. Like all the public schools in this city, it needed funding then as much as it does now.
2. But selfishly—after heading a laborious fundraiser that yielded pretty pathetic results—I never wanted to work full-time and organize anything again.
Watching me wring my hands, Joe looked at me and, without a second thought, said: “Well, why don’t we just give public schools some of the proceeds from Tacolicious?” Thus, a few months later, shortly after opening Tacolicious on Valencia Street, we formed the Tacolicious School Project, a program that today benefits 45 neighboring public schools—as many as we can squeeze into a school year. In order to give an amount that has some weight, each of our five restaurants (including Chino) donates 15 percent of a month’s worth of its Monday proceeds to its partner school.
Since then, the first day of the week has become a scene of kids running around our servers’ legs, weary parents relieved to be able to call eating tacos fundraising, and teachers in dark sunglasses huddled around shots of tequila. On these days, our restaurants truly feel like a place of community and I feel so grateful that Joe and I have been able to plant roots in the town we love, make a career out of what we are passionate about, and use the results to give back to the city that has nurtured us. It was in this town that Joe grew from waiter to restaurant owner and I grew from CD-ROM cookbook editorial assistant (we’re talking 1994) to food writer. I mean if San Franciscans weren’t so obsessed with food—specifically tacos—who knows where we’d be?
Three years later, almost to the month we launched, we’ve raised over $500,000. (Ok, so it’s not $5 million a la Marc Benioff, but I like to fantasize that he was inspired by us.) It all seems a little dreamy, but when we hear back from the schools, it makes it very real. Over at Marshall Elementary in inner Mission, the TSP helped fund their Oceans Month wherein students studied local marine habitats first-hand. The TSP has contributed to K–8 Creative Arts Charter School’s performance and visual arts activities (which includes rock band, theater and photography), and Bryant Elementary used the money to help pay for tutors and develop their garden program.
I’d like to thank both the schools and our customers for coming in to support public education on Mondays. And I’d like to really thank Joe for not letting his man-crush Obama, whose taco-eating portrait graces our restaurant walls, be the only guy who has the guts to say, “Yes we can” to pretty much everything.
To learn more about the Tacolicious School Project, including which schools are our beneficiaries, read more here. Come in on Mondays and eat for a cause!