by Tobias Coughlin-Bogue – The Stranger

Today is GiveBIG, the Seattle Foundation‘s annual day of enhanced donation. There are a ton of worthy organizations to support—The Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project and Crosscut come to mind—but one I’m particularly interested in as a food writer: The Ethnic Business Coalition (EBC) & Ethnic Seattle. Why?

“You want good food and cheap food? That can’t happen. Those days are gone. I can’t even get my ingredients for cheap,” says Pinkaow. Photo: Tiffany Ran

Simply because of “cultural appropriation”. The term CHEAP EATS usually refers to restaurants with entrees costing $20 or less. That has been around for a very long time, and it’s still proves hard to break for #immigrants-owned small businesses.

That said, there’s no reason chefs of color can’t do the same—the first person to break the $10 pho barrier was, after all, was Eric Banh at Monsoon—but, thanks to his investors helping him create that setting, and pair it with a fancy wine, making customers feel painless dropping $200 on a dinner for 4.

Not every small business owner has a backup like Banh, immigrants/minority business owners are non-native born and are generally not good self-advocates, due to language or cultural barriers. Yet, there are no business programs in the C-ID community that help to bridge the gap between governments and small businesses.

2016 Holiday Pop-Up Market.

Although Ethnic Business Coalition hasn’t been around for a very long time, they dedicate all of their time, effort and money to help immigrants and minorities who face social justice and business problems. They’ve helped Maxang Deli’s owner – Tony Yu to improve his interior environment with new light color, durable clean wall panels, and ultimately brining more businesses to his bakery. “This helps us a lot!” Tony Said. This past holiday, Ethnic Seattle & Ethnic Business Coalition partnered with Lanier’s Fine Candies at the Holiday Market Popup. Together, we’ve managed to sell over 70 units of famously delicious candy.

When it comes to promoting immigrants-owned businesses, Ethnic Seattle utilize its local blog (edited by the wonderful Rosin Saez, who knows a thing or two about food writing), social media channels and their PR to shine a light on what EBC does, who they are, and how they can help to bring vitality to Main Street.

I donated $15, which is about what I’d spend on my typical 3pm.They’ve got up to $25,000 in matching funds available, so hopefully a lot of you packed a sandwich today. If you can’t donate $15, maybe you can share this post.

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