Charity of the Month | Burrito Project LA
by Sica Schmitz | Posted on October 01 2016
Helping others is at the foundation of Bead & Reel and so each month we Give Back a portion of each sale to a new, worthy cause. As a vegan-owned, all vegan company, one of our goals is to promote kindness towards both animals and people, so we are thrilled to be able to give back this month to an organization we admire so much for doing so much good: the Burrito Project LA.
Burrito Project L.A. is a Food Justice project on a mission to provide vegan burritos and other much-needed items to the unhoused while introducing affordable and accessible plant based food to the community.
Originally started by friends coming together to make burritos for their unhoused neighbors, they host gatherings every second and last Wednesday of the month to provide vegan burritos, water, and other much-needed items to people living on the streets of Los Angeles, California.
How did the Burrito Project LA get started?
We started the Los Angeles chapter February 2015. About 4 months ago we started another chapter in Little Rock, Arkansas. Not only is Arkansas the second most impoverished state in America, but it is also tremendously lacking in secular assistance to the unhoused community.
We simply believe that food access is a human right and that it can be done in a way that is conscious to humans, animals, and the planet. Food justice intersects with issues like economic development, race/class inequalities, environmental sustainability, community solidarity, and so much more; what we do and how we choose to do it connects with those social justice issues. The most vulnerable to lack of food access is the unhoused community and that is why we started out by feeding them. Among those efforts we also have plant based community dinners and other community programs that cater to the low income community.
How many burritos do you give out on a typical Wednesday?
We usually give out about a hundred burritos along with water and other much-needed items, but we gave out over 200 burritos at our last event. The more support we receive, the more folks we can help out!
Along with helping make and distribute burritos every other Wednesday, how else can the community get involved?
Our next fundraiser will be October 15 at Mooshoes. It will be a Punk Rock Karaoke event! Along with the musical festivities we will also be selling vegan grub and refreshments.
What does Burrito Project LA need the most help with right now from the community?
We always ask folks to do what they can, whether it be: giving a monetary donation, supply donation, volunteer their time, or simply help spread the word about what we do.
What's your favorite uplifting story about an experience through Burrito Project LA?
Not too long ago while loading supplies on the sidewalk we bumped into a man riding his bike. He was smiling from ear to ear while telling us how we used to feed him and how thankful he was for the kindness we showed him. He then went on to say that he had just bought his bike and was on his way to his new job. Outsiders looking in might not think feeding hungry and unhoused people does much, but it's at least one less thing these folks have to worry about while trying to get through the day.
How can we best support unhoused people?
Aside from supporting community programs like ours, we'd recommend that when an unhoused person asks you for help, even if you don't have anything tangible to spare you can acknowledge them by saying, "I don't have any money, but is there another way I can help you?" or if you're unable to stop and have a conversation, "Sorry, I'm running late, but I hope you have a good day." This goes a long way since, sadly, unhoused people are often ignored and dehumanized.
Unhoused people are just like everyone else; they just didn't have the support they needed when they fell on hard times.
Why vegan burritos?
We believe in compassion towards all; that practice includes animals and the planet.
We choose vegan burritos as the meals to distribute because it is an efficient way to provide a meal containing protein, grains, healthy fats, and vegetables as well as creating minimal waste and leaving as small of an environmental footprint as possible - a clear conscience for all.