Fundraiser Started for Elote Man’s Food Truck Permits

MUJER Aims to Crowdfund $120,000 for Camacho

Hijinio Camacho sells Mexican street food in Isla Vista, gaining prominence in recent years for his elotes. Photo by Mark Lasa / The Bottom Line

Minh Hua

MUJER de UCSB started a GoFundMe campaign earlier this month to help Hijinio Camacho, or the elote man, acquire the proper food handling permits and professional vendor food truck. The campaign started in response to the fact that the Office of Student Life has stopped Hijinio from selling on campus and collaborating with students in fundraising events.

Treasurer of Seoul’d Out Jasmin Castanon, who had a recent fundraiser with Camacho cancelled, said that OSL and possibly another party had a meeting with Camacho. “They basically told him that he could no longer sell on campus,” Castanon said in an interview with The Bottom Line.

According to OSL, “concessionaires and food truck vendors cannot work at campus events without an approved UCSB Concessions Permit.” In order to obtain an approved UCSB Concessions Permit, Camacho would have to submit an official health permit and appropriate business insurance.

“With these new regulations in place, our beloved elote man can not help students to raise funds, and morale on campus has dwindled,” stated students from MUJER de UCSB in their GoFundMe campaign.

“Our goal is to help Hijinio as much as possible with the expenses of creating and expanding his small business permissible under city and UCSB regulations,” said Dulce Gonzalez, the MUJER coordinator behind the campaign.

Currently, the GoFundMe for Camacho has set a goal of $120,000, and about 38 students have pledged and donated in the last five days. Although the donations and pledges have not increased since this report, MUJER of UCSB has spread their campaign through social media, and UCSB students have extensively shared the campaign.

“Without the money for a professional food cart, campus organizations would not be able to raise funds with Hijinio for their organization’s community outreach programs, charitable causes or other events,” according to Camacho’s GoFundMe page. 

In addition to a professional food cart, Camacho will have to obtain the necessary health permits from the County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department. For fundraising events, he can obtain a Temporary Food Facility permit and pay a fee of $180 per event. In addition, he can also obtain a Mobile Food Facility permit, which authorizes the use of a food truck to vend perishable items.

Camacho will also have to receive a food handler’s certification, which is granted by taking a food safety course and then passing the examination. The aforementioned permits are required of all vendors who sell unpackaged, perishable items.

In order to protect Camacho from possible liabilities, OSL has also required that he obtain General Liability Insurance. This type of insurance can be obtained from most all insurance providers, and the lowest rates for a sole proprietor is $500 a year.

The Bottom Line first followed Camacho’s popularity on social media, when Staff Writer Francisco Olvera’s article took a deeper look at the “legendary figure’s background and business.” Moreover, @manukmusic’s Tweet showed that Camacho accepts Venmo payments which prompted donations from across America. People were touched by Camacho’s passion to provide Mexican comfort food to his local community, which Univision and BuzzFeed’s Bring Me videos show.

“Hijinio had stated that if he had the money, he would even consider opening another food cart to be run by students so that more people could try his products,” Gonzalez told The Bottom Line.

“Hijinio Camacho, or Elotero, was/is not banned; he can become eligible to participate by submitting the documentation required of all caterers approved to distribute food on campus,” Assistant Dean of Student Life Miles Ashlock clarified, in a recent interview with The Bottom Line.

Gonzalez and students from MUJER de UCSB stated, “Don Hijinio has always made himself and his business available to the Isla Vista community and the student body at UCSB…Now comes a time where as students and as part of this community, we must help Hijinio and his business.”

Camacho’s fundraiser is currently trending on GoFundMe and MUJER de UCSB is hopeful that “together, we are confident that we can reach our goal in two months.”