LOS ANGELES — Census forms, not menus, are the first thing you might read when you try to order from Enrique Loyola’s food truck near Keck USC Medical Center in downtown L.A.
It’s the fault of the 24-year-old food truck owner and his obsession with other people’s business.
“We felt that we do have a civic duty to help out our community,” said Loyola.
The first thing he did to help out the community was start On the Go L.A., a short-term food truck rental business. That way brick and mortar restaurants shut down by the pandemic, like Tacos Sin Karma, could quickly jump on four wheels and make some sales.
“We felt that we could become more of a stepping stone for these businesses to sell their food during this whole pandemic and beyond,” said Loyola.
The second thing he did was partner with We Count L.A., a campaign created by nonprofit California Community Foundation to give discounts to people that fill out their census forms.
“She’s actually filling out the census,” said Loyola pointing to a customer, “and she’ll be benefiting on a $7 discount through her order.”
The discount is encouraging people to fill out the form in the time it takes for their meals to be cooked up.
Dr. Gregory Taylor II, an internist at USC Keck, is one of Loyola's customers who was convinced to participate. Dr. Taylor wasn’t sure if his family had filled out the form.
“My wife answers all the mail, so I don’t know what actually is at home,” he said.
But as a medical professional, Dr. Taylor feels the weight of the census every day, as it primarily impacts funding for health care, education, and transportation.
“I want to do my part to make sure that all the taxpayer dollars are allocated properly,” he said.
And it’s not peanuts. For every person Loyola gets to fill out the form, SoCal receives about $1500 in federal funds per year for the next 10 years.
In the last week, he’s been able to get 70 people to fill out the form. This alone will bring over a million dollars in funding to the Southland over the next decade.
Loyola is happy to have something that benefits his customers, brick and mortar restaurants, and the future of L.A. County. “It’s a win, win situation for everyone. People get to complete the census, $7 off, [and] try something new,” he said.