Alimentando al Pueblo’s Bidi Bidi Bom Bash Raises Awareness and Cash for South King County Communities

Sanya Khanna

At the entrance of Lake Burien Presbyterian Church on April 13, aromatic spices entice and syncopated percussion boom kicking off Bidi Bidi Bom Bash, a three-day celebration powered by the community-building organization Alimentando al Pueblo.

Alimentando al Pueblo emerged in May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Roxana Pardo Garcia, “aka La Roxay . . . a self-identifying Hood Intellectual Xingona who was born and raised on occupied Coast Salish Territory,” is the co-founder and executive director of Alimentando al Pueblo. The organization provides cultural-specific food banks stemming from a conversation she heard between her mother and aunt.

“My aunt was telling her how she really needed to go to the food bank but was hesitant because she often didn’t get food that she was able to cook or was familiar to her.”

“Why were there no food banks giving people the food they actually needed?” Garcia wondered. 

Acutely aware of the pandemic’s destructive impacts on her community, Garcia answered her own question by creating Alimentando al Pueblo, making culturally relevant food available to Mexican and Central American families within the Highline neighborhood of south King County. The boxes distributed through the food bank include fresh produce and staple ingredients, such as rice and beans. Other products available appeal to a family’s cultural background, such as yuca and coconut milk for some families from Central America.

“We are reflective of the communities we belong to,” Garcia says. “I love my community so deeply, and I can’t believe that I get to steward my gifts and medicine in this way.”

Local small businesses showcased a wide variety of handmade goods at the market on April 13 inside Lake Burien Presbyterian Church. Vendors set up booths to sell items such as jewelry and art. (Photo by Sanya Khanna)

Now, at four years old, Alimentando al Pueblo has evolved through its hardworking board of directors, volunteers, and partners. It has grown its food bank system and held multiple cultural celebrations, such as its one-day La Posada in December, Children’s Day in October, and Bidi Bidi Bom Bash, to name a few. In addition, the organization is developing community-driven programs to foster cultural stewardship for youth.

Bidi Bidi Bom Bash is a yearly event made up of three events, spanning over three days, making it Alimentando’s largest fundraising event of the year. The market at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church marks the beginning of the festivities. Made up of food and art vendors to community resources, the market offers a space for the community to get together and celebrate while supporting local businesses. The following day is the family-friendly “Bidi Bidi Bom Brunch” held at La Esquina Restaurant in Burien, accompanied by drag performances. Finally, on the last day, a 21+-only cumbia dance event called “Aguacero” “rains community and culture” at Club Sur Seattle.

This year, Alimentando al Pueblo met its goal of raising $7,000 from the multi-day event to support food bank recipients. 

“Bidi Bidi Bom Bash serves as an opportunity to bring together and uplift small businesses, artists, creatives, and drag artists of color,” says Garcia. 

Manuel Hernandez Torres, bilingual communication specialist, social media manager, and community engagement consultant for Alimentando al Pueblo, first got involved when he was selected to work with the Bidi Bidi Bom Bash committee in 2019, before the birth of Alimentando al Pueblo, when the event was produced through sponsors, the hardworking committee and La Roxay Productions

“I have seen the direct impact our org has had on families in need, distributing supplies, and connecting marginalized communities with resources in dignified ways,” he explains.

Jerlyn Lemus took part in Bidi Bidi Bom Bash’s market for the first time this year. She says her business, Beautibyjerlyn, provides affordable services to help others build confidence. At the market, she applied tooth gems to customers and said she was “excited to take part in such a community-centered event.” 

The committee spearheading the planning process of Bid Bidi Bom Bash throughout the years is 100% Latinx and primarily women and queer, according to Garcia. From the event first put on in 2019, Bidi Bidi Bom Bash has expanded its reach and is known for holding ”the first drag brunch in Burien history,” Garcia wrote later in an email.

Hernandez said he recently attended a potluck where the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation employees conducted a food drive for Alimentando’s food bank. 

“I was very proud to share how Alimentando al Pueblo has broken barriers. In this opportunity to represent our work, I reminded myself of how far I’ve come in my career.” 

Alimentando al Pueblo started by serving 100 families. It now serves 260. It has opened the gateway to serving the Burien Latinx community with food and brought the community together. 

Hernandez explains, “As someone who did not grow up in this area, I finally feel like I belong in this city because I have found my community.”

Cover Photo: Jerlyn Lemus applies a tooth gem to Olivia Delach, her first customer of the day. Soon after this picture, a small crowd surrounded her booth in intrigue over what the process entailed. (Photo by Sanya Khanna)

Sanya Khanna, a third-year student at the University of Washington, is pursuing a degree in journalism and public interest communications along with a minor in business administration and the Foster sales certificate. Through this interdisciplinary approach, she immerses herself in various facets of media with the knowledge of navigating the business landscape.

Publisher’s Notes: Washington Latino News, an affiliate of LNN and a class in the Journalism and Public Interest Communication program at the University of Washington are partners in best serving the Hispanic and Latino communities.

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