By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4)– Three local charities will soon get support for their causes from people who love to eat tacos.

El Jefe opened in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood about 1½ years ago.

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“Business has been great. It’s a small, growing neighborhood so every day gets a little bit better, and a little bit better,” said James Samara.

James Samara (credit: CBS)

Samara owns the restaurant and has a passion for authentic Mexican cuisine, including tacos.

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“Tacos are very approachable; everybody knows what a taco is and everybody’s very comfortable ordering tacos.”

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When Kevin Johns came to him with the idea of a Taco Passport to help support local charities, Samara was all in.

Kevin Johns (credit: CBS)

“Number one, we hope to benefit these great organizations, we wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t for these organizations. Number two, we gain some exposure for the restaurant, get some new foot traffic through the door and open people’s eyes a little bit to what Mexican cuisine can be and what we feel like it should be.”

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The passports will cost you $20 and get you 2-for-1 deals on tacos at over 20 restaurants and food trucks across town. A total of $15 from each passport will be donated to three charities: Food Bank of the Rockies, Lazaro Project and Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network.

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“We just wanted to make it fun, easy to use, and something where you could just put it in your pocket, take it out and people are going to ask, ‘Oh, what’s that?'” said Johns.

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Samara says he even plans to buy a Taco Passport for himself.

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“Yeah, I looked at the list of all of the great restaurants around there and I think I’m going to grab one and go check out some new places.”

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Johns sees the passport less as a coupon book and more as an excuse for adventure.

“I hope everybody gets one, donates the money to charity and has a great summer using it.”

LINK: Taco Passport

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Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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