November 30, 2022

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Food loaded for bear

Davenport restaurants raise money for Hispanic food pantry | Local News

The front doors of Azteca 1 restaurant in north Davenport were surrounded Wednesday by folding tables and chairs. A detective wasn’t required to deduce an outdoor event was on the horizon.

That event is Azteca 1’s “Cinco de Mayo Party with Purpose.” This year, owner Sonia Villalpando and her staff are donating $1 from every margarita to St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church’s food pantry. The pantry is one of the few in the Quad-Cities that offers traditional Hispanic food products.

The party starts at at 11 a.m. Thursday at Azteca 1, which is located at 4811 N. Brady St. in Davenport.

“We have a tradition of trying to help people and we have always tied our fundraising to start of Cinco de Mayo. This is something we have done for at least 10 years to help different charities,” said Villalpando, who bought Azteca 1 from her father in 2016. “Ken Croken approached me this year about the Hispanic food bank and I thought it was a great idea.

“So we are going to do what we can to help.”

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Croken is one of five men who serve on the Scott County Board of Supervisors. He became interested in the food pantry after the Board of Supervisors showed no interest in his suggestion to reroute some of the more than $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds the county plans to use to partly pay for constructing a new juvenile detention center to help undocumented workers.

“What got me started was the fact that a fair number of essential-but-excluded workers in our county are Hispanic, and some of those workers and their families struggle — not only to find food — but find food made from traditional ingredients.

“We have a lot of good food pantries in this city and county — but most don’t offer traditional Hispanic ingredients like beans, rice and masa flour.”

Croken connected with St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in downtown Davenport, which operates the pantry once a month after the noon Spanish Mass.

Families receive a basket of traditional food products, including staples such as beans, rice, masa flour, chilies and other ingredients commonly used by Hispanic home cooks.

In a news release, Croken said several area Mexican restaurants are supporting St. Anthony’s Hispanic food pantry effort.

“Azteca 1 has agreed to donate $1 for every margarita cocktail sold to its Cinco de Mayo revelers between Thursday and Sunday and will ask its patrons to consider ‘rounding up’ their bills to the nearest dollar to help as well,” Croken said.

Croken pointed to a few other restaurants that have pledged to help the food pantry, including Los Portales Restaurant, 1012 East Kimberly Road, Davenport, as well as Los Primos Mexican Grill, 1143 East Locust St. and Ganzos Restaurant and Cantina, 3923 North Marquette St.

Croken said other fundraising and food donation activities will be held throughout the summer in order to ensure the Hispanic food pantry is adequately prepared to meet the increased needs the cold weather months will bring.

Villalpando recommended her favorite margarita for Thursday’s fundraiser.

“Strawberry. I definitely like the strawberry margaritas,” she said. “But people will have plenty of choices.”