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Passatempo's 'Pay It Forward' program supports workers while keeping restaurant busy

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Passatempo Taverna
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Passatempo Taverna has cooked up a “pay it forward” movement.

The downtown Walla Walla Italian restaurant has launched a campaign to help support those whose lives in the community have been seriously disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How it works: Donations made help offset the cost of a Passtempo lasagna or other meal that will be distributed in the coming weeks to eligible people whose employment is connected to the businesses that have been shut down to bend the curve of transmission, or those who have been working extended hours to help provide essential services.

Passatempo owner Mike Martin said the idea came after seeing it implemented at a number of Seattle restaurants, including Herbfarm in Woodinville.

Martin said the menu at Passatempo has been shortened and prices drastically reduced “with the goal that we can keep as many of our staff employed during this time and feed as much of the community as we can.”

Folks eligible to receive meals are those who have had hours cut in work for restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, the beauty and barber businesses that also include nail salons, gyms, hotel or lodging facilities, or retail stores that have had to cut hours. It also applies to health care, grocery or delivery worker with extended hours.

To nominate someone for a lasagna send an email to To make a donation, visit

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at or 509-526-8321.

Vicki covers business and economic development, including tourism, the Port of Walla Walla and the Strictly Business column, as well as features. She has been reporting for the Union-Bulletin since late 2001.

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