Rule 1 of Burrito Project: You do not talk about Burrito Project.
January 3, 2008 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Burrito Project is an organization which helps feed the hungry and homeless in cities around the world. The organization encourages people "to get together with friends and build burritos to take to the streets". Anyone can start a Burrito Project and the organization encourages everyone to help feed the hungry in their local communities. Haven't heard of the Burrito Project? There's probably a good, albeit very strange, reason why. [via]
posted by basicchannel (40 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
There's probably a good, albeit very strange, reason why.

Burritos outside of North America suck?
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on January 3, 2008

I'm just going to run this by Givewell to make sure.
posted by nola at 10:33 AM on January 3, 2008 [7 favorites]

Gee, people who work to help those less fortunate than themselves who shun publicity. How un-GiveWell.
posted by wendell at 10:33 AM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by nola at 10:34 AM on January 3, 2008

You know, nola, there is such a thing as BAD publicity, really.
posted by wendell at 10:35 AM on January 3, 2008

You just lost the game.
posted by grateful at 10:36 AM on January 3, 2008

There's a difference between shunning publicity and actively making it difficult to get involved. Sounds strange, but it probably works to make each project more focussed, with more reliable volunteers.
posted by patricio at 10:36 AM on January 3, 2008

Is it really such a good idea to give the homeless an entree that's one step below Colon Blow? When given to homeless people that imbibe on wine and beer this could be a recipe for intestinal wreckage. Burritos are an intestinal force not to be toyed with.
posted by crapmatic at 10:37 AM on January 3, 2008

People have always been suckers for secret societies and mysterious brotherhoods. Semi-secret philanthropic groups have been around for quite a long time; this organization sounds like what would happen if bike messengers discovered the Masons.
posted by aramaic at 10:41 AM on January 3, 2008

I don't wanna go and party
I don't wanna shoot the pier
I don't wanna take the doggie out for a walk
I don't wanna look at naked chicks and drink beer
I don't wanna do a bong load and go and wrench on the car
I don't wanna go and hose the dogshit down
Cause i ain't even gonna get out of bed
Keep on skankin' ronnie skank the night away
But the time has come for us all to pay
I don't wanna watch no porno
I don't wanna play guitar
I don't wanna spank the monkey
I don't wanna go down to the corner bar
Ain't even got to listen to all the stupid shit you got to say
I don't wanna do a god damn thing
I ain't gonna make my bed today
I don't wanna eat burritos or read about o.j.
Ain't gonna get a head rush cause I ain't gettin out of bed today.

Heroin is a hell of a drug. Here's hoping our fucking excellent CA burritos can claim victory over it, for our brothers on the streets. Maybe someday soon they can even score their own burrito nests.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2008

Crapmatic: as long as you don't load the burritos with habaneros and hot sauce, and go a bit easy on the beans, it's probably OK.
posted by pdb at 10:47 AM on January 3, 2008

totally eponysterical.
posted by desjardins at 10:47 AM on January 3, 2008

2nding patricio, plus they article says they encourage you to start your own efforts, not FOAD.

"Burrito" isn't inherently intestinally hostile (only when made with greasy/spicy/low quality ingredients at Taco Bell.) Plus it contains the major food groups (dairy-cheese, veg, and meat/beans for protein wrapped in carbohydrate-rich tortilla) like pizza but is much easier to transport / eat without a table or fork. Pretty good choice for homeless I think.

On preview, 2nd pdb as well.
posted by oblio_one at 10:55 AM on January 3, 2008

/gir voice

posted by quin at 11:10 AM on January 3, 2008

This sounds a lot like Food Not Bombs. And though my days of dumpster diving have long past, I remember that FNB were constantly harassed for feeding the homeless due to food service laws. Wouldn't this project be vulnerable to the same?
posted by effwerd at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2008

I have a burrito project.

In my pants.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2008

Yet another secret burrito project??
posted by jonson at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2008

En mis pantelones, Espanol por favor!
posted by buzzman at 11:43 AM on January 3, 2008

We noticed, crash, we definitely noticed.
posted by wendell at 11:44 AM on January 3, 2008

I remember that FNB were constantly harassed for feeding the homeless due to food service laws. Wouldn't this project be vulnerable to the same?

having long ago participated in FNB, and being well aware of the problems groups encountered in places around the US, i'd say that this is the primary and most practical reason for the secrecy, rather than the belief that giving ought to be a non-publicized act. (it just fits in nicely.)

if you were a formal group, you'd have to cook in certain kinds of kitchens, and you could find yourself a target for all that is stupid in American law.

bravo to the Burrito Project. a great idea. may it spread like a virus.
posted by RedEmma at 11:44 AM on January 3, 2008

a great idea. may it spread like a virus.

As long as it doesn't spread e.coli or botulism... which is the reason for the Food Service laws, which, while sometimes stupidly overreaching, don't always prevent what they're designed to prevent.
posted by wendell at 11:47 AM on January 3, 2008

Is the same Burrito Project that killed the Kennedys?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:48 AM on January 3, 2008

Sure, the Burrito Project may shun publicity. But, hours later, there is still a certain sense, hard to describe, just hanging in the air, that they've been there.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Let me know when somebody wants to organize a Tamale Project. I'll gladly participate for the small fee of two tamales an hour.
posted by wendell at 12:01 PM on January 3, 2008

Seems like it would be hard to reach homeless people this way, except for rough sleepers (who here in the UK, at any rate, constitute a tiny, tiny proportion of the problem). It sounds like a great idea, but how do they reach all the other homeless and/or hungry people?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2008

If information has eluded you until this point about how local groups of action-oriented, grassroots-minded folks get together to hang out building burritos that they then deliver-- usually on bikes -- to the area's homeless and hungry, it's understandable, since the first rule of Burrito Project isn't that much different than that of Fight Club: don't talk about it.

1. That's one hell of a sentence.
2. Enough with the "first rule of X is" already!
3. I definitely like projects like this. Walking (or biking) around and giving food to those who need doesn't have too many downsides. Sure you're "not helping in the long run" or whatever, but at least you're doing something while everyone else is talking or legislating about it. There's also the risk of any food related problems, but the people taking the food aren't eating all that well in the first place. (I don't really have any numbers, but this can't be that big of a problem, can it? Not in terms of liability, but in terms of actual damage to actual people).
posted by ODiV at 12:23 PM on January 3, 2008

game warden to the events rhino:It sounds like a great idea, but how do they reach all the other homeless and/or hungry people?

The Manhattan Burrito Project. It's gonna use the world's supply of urtastyum-235.
posted by dubold at 12:29 PM on January 3, 2008

As long as the people are washing their hands after going to the bathroom, and cooking the beans and rice, chances of e.coli are extremely low. And botulism shouldn't be a factor, as I doubt they are paying the money for canned beans or other goods, as nothing really beats $/calorie/lb than bulk beans and rice (especially if they use brown rice).

I think this is pretty awesome. While it may not be a complete solution, it is atleast doing something to help the problem, getting healthy meals to people who need them, who may not have access to anything at all. If anything it sends a message that atleast some people still see them as fellow human beings.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:56 PM on January 3, 2008

It sounds like a great idea, but how do they reach all the other homeless and/or hungry people?

I don't know about Burrito Projects, but Food Not Bombs chapters tend to pick a regular location, set up there each week, and then let word spread.
posted by regicide is good for you at 1:09 PM on January 3, 2008

^This will not WiveGell?

I like the idea, though, and I'm sure on a cold night like tonight, a well-wrapped burrito can provide both warmth and nutrition. And even though burritos will probably do nothing to combat ^ addiction or mental illness, we can all agree on two things:
1) A hungry man is an angry man, and
2) Nothing beats taking a good dump. (Especially a long-overdue dump caused by opiate-constipation.)
posted by not_on_display at 1:19 PM on January 3, 2008

2. Enough with the "first rule of X is" already!

Really. The first rule of 2008 is, shit that wasn't that clever in 1999 is much less so now.

Sounds like a good project though.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2008

But they didn't want me. What they wanted instead was for me and anyone else so encouraged to channel that enthusiasm into starting our own projects.

Hmmm, decentralized cells taking guerrilla action for a single cause? Actually sounds more like Al Qaeda. But that's probably not the image they're going for.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:42 PM on January 3, 2008

In the late-90s, I had a tape of a SF rap group called Mission Burrito Project. Boy that tape just plain awesome. I was thinking about it just the other day.
posted by milarepa at 1:53 PM on January 3, 2008

mmmmmm Tamales!
posted by nola at 2:05 PM on January 3, 2008

effwerd: that was my initial thought as well, not that it ever stopped me from handing out sandwiches.
Ambrosia Voyeur: I take it Santa didn't come through this year?
posted by Sailormom at 2:28 PM on January 3, 2008

When I was in college, a friend of mine delivered bread He would have piles of day-old bread loaves on his hands at the end of the day that he pulled off the shelves to make room for the new. He froze, ate and gave away as much as he could but inevitably he ended up tossing lots of it into a dumpster.

One night, I got a few loaves, made a bunch of PB & J sandwiches and gave them out to the homeless in Santa Cruz CA. I had more-or-less forgotten about having done that until reading the Burrito Project How-to.

So here I am 13 years later with a wife, 2 kids, a job, a mortgage and a persistent, dull ache that comes from knowing that I don't do much these days to give back to a world that has been pretty kind to me. Maybe this is the cure for what's ailing me. Who else likes cooking, biking and helping in the Seattle area?
posted by bicyclingfool at 11:11 PM on January 3, 2008

I once was a member of a top secret LA group called the Beer Fairies. We went out to Skid Row one hot day and handed out cold ones, and nearly were beaten with a baseball bat by a lady who had her own time frame for beer delivery. It all seemed pretty cute, until we offered a beer to a gentleman who informed us he was sober, and did we have a soda for him? We did not, and felt like assholes.
posted by Scram at 11:52 PM on January 3, 2008

the homeless hate burritos. they don't like quesadillas whipped at them, either.
posted by camdan at 12:35 AM on January 4, 2008

game warden to the events rhino: As your link points out the current UK Government did a lot of work on rough sleeper numbers, and was very successful in this. The situation in the US is not the same -- The city of Boston, alone reported over half as many people living on the street as in the UK statistics (306 out of 6,636 homeless* in the 2006-7 count) -- so their is arguably a greater base need (and you are liable to encounter at least some of the the shelter dwelling population along side the street homeless during normal hours in any case.)

mrzarquon : and as long as people aren't storing cooked rice (and beans) for any length as time -- as I was taught on my food hygiene course cooked rice is a notorious source of food poisoning. Its generally quite hard to fuck up Vegetarian/Vegan food safety but cooked rice, left at room temperatures for any time, is one of the easiest ways to do it ( the risk, in bulk, is bigger than with home cooking, though I wouldn't risk it there either).

* Defined as those living on the street and shelter dwellers. The Uk stats are similarly restrictive in their definitions)
posted by tallus at 7:20 AM on January 4, 2008

I did this in Denver the first time I ever couchsurfed with someone. It was a good experience, and I look forward to doing it again when I'm living there this summer. FWIW, the same group of people also helped out with FNB.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:20 PM on January 6, 2008

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