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Food trucks welcome: What to know about round three of Las Cruces restaurant voucher program

LAS CRUCES – The City of Las Cruces has opened the application window for the latest round of its pandemic restaurant voucher program. One notable change is the program, now entering its third round, will seek to include food trucks among the eateries receiving assistance.

According to a news release from the city, the application window opened Tuesday, March 23 and will continue until noon April 5.

The program, which has been administered by the local nonprofit Families and Youth Inc. using COVID-19 economic aid dollars from the city, distributes $10 vouchers to low-income and elderly residents. The vouchers are redeemable at a selection of restaurants and count as credit toward a free or discounted meal. The restaurants can hand the vouchers in to FYI to receive the dollar value back.

Two previous rounds chose 22 different restaurants. The third round is being funded by another $150,000 in pandemic aid authorized by the Las Cruces City Council last month, according to FYI program coordinator Javier Garcia.

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This time, Garcia said 10 new restaurants are expected to be chosen. Food trucks are now allowed to qualify, unlike in previous rounds.

Each restaurant or food truck will be given 1,500 “personalized vouchers” valued at $10 each, according to the city. Vouchers will be valid for redemption between April 20 and June 30.

Interested establishments must be locally owned, not been chosen before and must be within city limits. Locally owned franchises will again be considered, unlike the second round of the program. Businesses with multiple locations will be given 1,500 vouchers to divide among their locations if chosen.

Restaurants or food trucks will qualify based on an understanding of the program’s goals, quality and notoriety of the restaurant, relevant community service experience, benefit the business provides to the community and the strength of the business’ team and management approach.

Applications must be emailed as attachments and typewritten and should include a cover letter, high resolution business logo, hours of operation, contact information, sample menu, proposed discounts and $10 meals, relevant qualifications and experience, “highlights or successes” and past or current community service projects if applicable.

A good application will also include the business’ plan for how it will advertise the vouchers to the community.

FYI will answer questions from interested businesses on a Zoom video call March 26 from 2 to 3 p.m. Garcia said it’s not mandatory for interested restaurants. FYI is requesting restaurants email their questions ahead of time and pre-register for the call by emailing prevention@fyinm.com. FYI asks that the business name is included in the subject line and the name, address, restaurant name and the name and title of all participants expected to attend in the email body.

Applications should be submitted to FYI via email at jagacia@fyinm.org. For more rules and requirements, or questions about submitting a proposal, contact Garcia by calling 575-635-0476 or emailing jagacia@fyinm.org.

The city said local banks, such as Century Bank and First Light Credit Union, might offer lines of credit to participating restaurants, as Mayor Ken Miyagishima encouraged to help businesses weather the cost of giving away free or discounted meals before reimbursement. Century can be contacted at 575-521-2407 and First Light can be called at 915-564-3325.

View the full application information below:

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Michael McDevitt is a city and county government reporter for the Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, mmcdevitt@lcsun-news.com or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Food trucks welcome: What to know about round three of Las Cruces restaurant voucher program

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