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Taco Tuesday takes on new meaning at RJ Donovan

People in uniform load up tacos.
Staff heaped their plates with tasty tacos.

By Lieutenant Jennifer Davies

In a state as large and diverse as California, one day can unite many: Taco Tuesday. With that in mind, the staff at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, or RJD, prepared for a taco-themed throw-down showdown in mid-June.

Man wears apron that says Never Trust a Skinny Cook.
Teams prepped fresh ingredients for their taco throw-down.

Teams geared up with their favorite ingredients, colorful aprons, and festive music, gathering outside the Administration building on June 11.

While some who work at RJD transferred from Central California or even up in the north state, many staff are homegrown, hailing from San Diego and other parts of the southern desert regions. These longtime locals know their roots.

While local taco shops offer special deals on Taco Tuesday, RJD’s taco throw-down put them to shame.

Street tacos with ingredients such as beef, beef chorizo, premium pollo asada, fresh mango salsa, peppers and scallions sold for $1. Each team, knowing the most tacos sold would claim the coveted People’s Choice Award, promoted their tacos with elaborately decorated taco “stands.” The teams also knew the a high honor was winning the Judges’ Blind Taste Test, an award given by a three-judge panel based on flavor alone.

With all teams set up in the designated visiting room converted into a taco fest, the doors were open and the hungry customers came in by the droves. Each team prepared enough fresh ingredients to serve 100 tacos, and it didn’t take long for all teams to be sold out, most within an hour.

Members of the Employees Association tallied up each team’s money box and consulted with the judges.

The final results were Facility B’s Team “Taco Bravo” claiming the Judges’ Taste Test while the People’s Choice award winner went to the “Admin Taco Team.”

According to organizers, the real victory when to those employees who participated on either side of the taco stand. They came from all areas of the institution representing CDCR, California Correctional Health Care Services and the Division of Adult Parole Operations. They united to build camaraderie and and each other’s company.

Funds raised went to institution’s employees association.

Red, yellow and light blue banners hang behind four people standing at a table.
Teams got into a festive mood with colorful decorations.