MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Most of our lives have slowed down a little bit because of the pandemic. Many people are staying home more, and going out less. But one Milwaukee woman is actually busier now than ever, and all of her hard work is making the city a better place.
We caught up with Lucia Munoz outside a polling place in Milwaukee during early voting in October.
“It's incredibly cold,” she said with a smile.
It was raining and chilly—not the best weather for standing in line outside. But Munoz was there to make it a little easier.
“Just one, or two?” she asked a man as he went by. “There you go. You have a good day,” she said as she handed him two packs of warm tacos.
Munoz owns The Laughing Taco in Walker’s Point. She came out to give away dozens of free tacos through a partnership with Chef Jose Andres’s World Central Kitchen, which is a relief organization that helps people after natural disasters all over the world.
This effort was called “Chefs for the Polls,” and chefs across the country went out to provide free meals to voters. Munoz did her part to spread a little joy.
“I'll bring them over, don't get wet. How many would you like,” she called out to two women, staying dry under the building’s overhang.
She said people are very thankful for the unexpected treat and are shocked when she tells them the tacos are free.
“We're happy to bring this to the community. And yeah, it was rain, but it's just water. We'll be fine,” she said with a laugh about the weather.
While the weather didn’t cooperate, the meal did serve it’s purpose to create community and conversation.
“When you work in the food business, it's something that it's always rewarding to know that you're bringing that,” she said.
Munoz and her husband own three Milwaukee restaurants. The Laughing Taco is an ode to her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico. The tacos they serve are like the ones she grew up with.
“This is the pork we cook on the spit,” she said, pointing at the savory meat ready to fill a taco shell.
Her husband, Justin Carlisle, convinced her it was the right time to open the shop.
“I don't remember why I said yes at the time,” she said with a smile, “But I did, and now I'm happy I did. Yeah. For sure.”
Saying yes is something Munoz does a lot. On top of running the restaurant, she’s also a teacher.
“I teach Spanish in elementary and middle school. In a couple schools around the Milwaukee area,” she explained.
And she’s also an avid runner.
“It makes me happy,” she said simply.
So, combining her love for running and her experience with children made Munoz the perfect candidate for Girls on the Run.
“One of the things I like is how inclusive it is, anyone can join,” she said. “It doesn't really matter, you are a runner. You're invited and you're part of the club and the streets are always open.”
Tina Jones is the executive director for Girls on the Run of Southeastern Wisconsin.
“I call her a rock star all the time,” Jones said.
Jones brought Munoz on as a board member.
“She really is out there doing so much and she has such a passion, you can feel it,” Jones said. “You can see it and she couldn't be a better fit.”
That’s what led Munoz to run a marathon, by herself, through the streets of Milwaukee.
“I said, you know, I love training for a marathon. I love running marathons. I love running in Milwaukee, so why not do this,” she said.
She ran a virtual New York City Marathon, and she ran it as a SoleMate, raising money for Girls on the Run.
“Building confidence through accomplishments,” Jones said. “All of those things, Lucia, it's all bundled up right there in that package.”
She’s doing what makes her happy, and helping others along the way.
Girls on the Run of Southeastern Wisconsin is holding an end of season virtual 5k on Saturday, Nov. 7.