I read about the Burrito Project a few years ago in a local college paper and followed them one night for this story I wrote (Daily News, Aug. 2010). The project involves a group of young people who ride their bikes around Los Angeles’ Skid Row, to hand out homemade burritos to the homeless. Some critics say only formal organizations should feed the homeless. But members of the Burrito Project say they want to be involved in caring for people in their community–no strings attached. This story ran as part of the LA@Night series in the LA Daily News. From my story:
On a street as dark as ink, where only the brave, the foolish or the lost dare to walk alone, a voice echoes off the cold steel grates of shuttered warehouses.
“You hungry? You want a burrito?”
In response, a man’s arm emerges from under a stained blanket, his hand capturing the warm, tinfoil wrapped meal.
Maybe he’s thankful. Maybe not. He doesn’t say.
For the homeless on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, free food sometimes comes with a sermon from those offering it: Find God and see the light or stay on the same path and remain condemned to this darkness forever.
But there’s no message accompanying the burrito, handed out by a bicyclist who goes only by the name “Mr. T” and belongs to a group whose motto is “Cuz mama said share.”
“I just want the interaction, no strings attached,” said Mr. T., who founded the Los Angeles chapter of a loosely formed group of volunteers known as the Burrito Project.