Urban Velo

The Burrito Project

Burrito Project from Jon Chou on Vimeo.

We’ve covered The Burrito Project before, but here’s a video from a slightly different perspective.

A group of college students (from UCI and UCR) help care for the homeless in Downtown Santa Ana, CA by handing out burritos. They cook and prepare the burritos on a Saturday then the next day they drive out to Santa Ana with their bikes and ride around the city passing out burritos. According to filmmaker Jon Chao, “The reason why there is no footage what so ever of Burrito Project communicating with the homeless is only because we want to respect their privacy and to not turn them into a showcase for the public.”

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  1. scottApril 30, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Indianapolis had a decently thriving burrito project for awhile, but I’m not sure why it fizzled.

    Also, there is a subtle christian missionary dynamic to this specific project…am I wrong?

  2. Chris HardmanApril 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Homeless or not, even starving hungry, if some fucking hipster tried to give me a taco (burrito…whatever) Id fuck them up. Scenesters handing out mexican food, wtf??

  3. jerkeyApril 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Uh nice gesture but a bunch of rich kids riding around “handing out burritos” is pretty damn funny. Ha.

  4. Scaley MacKerelApril 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    This is just another reason for the homeless to hate society.

  5. FrictionShifterApril 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    As a student at UCI, with no relation to this project, this was news to me. And it is awesome. Santa Ana is a pretty down-on-its-luck kind of place, whereas Irvine (UCI) is rather cultivated and artificial. Essentially residents of Santa Ana are the service industry to those who live in Irvine. Knowing the students of UCI, I doubt many of these kids are from either Santa Ana or Irvine, but it is great to see people crossing the socio-political and geographic divide; better yet, ok bikes! Good job kids!

  6. hollow titanium ball bearingsMay 1, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Are you searious? Really ?
    I wanna be positive and supportive but…

    Oh, I just don’t feel any love. These kids put more effort into riding silly bikes and dressing alike than challenging the homeless epidemic. Really a burrito? Try something more direct like asking your parents why they are Republicans that are happy to keep critical support services away from the economic underclass.

    and for FrictionShifter :
    “but it is great to see people crossing the socio-political and geographic divide; better yet, ok bikes!”

    They ride thier silly vanity machines back across that divide before nightfall. Much less they had to drive thier bikes across that divide and back.

  7. demigodMay 1, 2010 at 8:39 am

    “Essentially residents of Santa Ana are the service industry to those who live in Irvine”

    Is this your first year in Irvine? How can you make such an ignorant statement. Get on your fixie, ride down Santa Clara Avenue, and you will see homes that are not so down-on-its-luck. Much nicer neighborhoods exist in Santa Ana than the cookie cutter condos of anywhere in irvine.

    I lived in Irvine, went to University High School and UCI, so I will state that you have no idea what you are talking about. There are homeless and hungry and your own city, They are not hard to find.

    The true saints in this world are one that give without expectation of praise or photos on the web like “look how good we are, we are making burritos for Mexicans”, people who give with humility and selflessness.

  8. seanMay 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Food Not Bombs to go?

  9. bradMay 2, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Some people can find fault in anything.

  10. Andrew OaklandMay 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    To all the haters:

    What exactly have you done for anyone outside of your immediate social circle lately? This may be a band-aid solution (it is); their bikes may be silly (they are); but at least they’re thinking about others and getting together as friends and doing it on bikes.

    My own thoughts aside, this is vastly more positive and productive than posting cynical comments on an internet comment page. I thought Urban Velo readers knew better than to bring their myopic opinions into the fray. It really is disappointing to see childish comments on this site.

  11. MaggieMay 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    All we need to do is get on our feets, our bikes, our cars and get out into the world.

  12. AfreelunchMay 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Andrew – What exactly enables you to conclude that people who dislike the content of this post are childish, unhelpful, or unproductive? For all you know they could volunteer at a soup kitchen three days a week. I am more put off by your presumptive, self-righteous scolding than I am by the “haters.”

    While the comment posters you chide could better articulate their reasons for disliking this video, you would do well to accept the fact that people are going to be unimpressed and even offended by kids in overpriced clothing DRIVING their overpriced vehicles loaded with overpriced and under-equipped bicycles to an under-privileged part of town and handing out small amounts of food because they “love to ride bikes.”

    Regardless of how these people really feel about cycling, to someone who is already disenchanted with the the vane nature of the fixie scene, this video appears to be just another fashion accessory.

  13. EvanMay 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

    How come most videos on this site that include a) kids on bikes and b) people trying to help out get flamed and accused of being ignorant hipsters. In retrospect, deep v’s and aerospokes suck, but that’s beside the point.

  14. DarylMay 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    wow didn’t expect some of the responses I read here but I must have forgot that I’m on “the internet”, the land of arm chair quarterbacks. Has anyone here taken the time to look at the issues from the eyes of people receiving the food? If you are hungry and don’t know where your next meal is coming from, it doesn’t matter if your food comes from a kitchen (which many are closing down due to lack of funding) or a “hipster” on a bike. The important thing is to actually get out of your comfort zone and do something nice for people expecting nothing in return. I’ve ridden with this group before and they are pretty chill, so to just sit back and make “ignorant” comments about them or the burrito project shows the real problem lies within yourself. It’s easy to point out the “flaws” but how easy is it to actually do something yourself. If you’re not making a positive impact in YOUR community on a daily basis, you have no room for response.

  15. shizan talkystanMay 5, 2010 at 1:35 am

    You know, burrito projects have been around for years and years. Los Angeles has had one that works every wednesday for the past 5 years! those guys give out hundreds of burritos every week, so try to do good for a while before exploiting your good deeds and hoping for supportive responses. I think one thing that frustrated me in this video (besides loading your bikes in a car) is that the maker doesn’t teach us anything. just piano music an peoples feelings. nice try

  16. Taylor DarnallMay 5, 2010 at 9:57 am

    I do not understand the hate. These kids are doing an undeniably good thing.

    If you’ve got a problem with fixies and hipsters, that’s fine–but most hipsters ride their fixies without giving food out to homeless people.

  17. DemigodMay 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Here are the things I have problems with the video. First, there are homeless and hungry in Riverside and Irvine, why not support and help your own neighbors first. The word “ethnotourism” comes to mind. Second, Riverside is 20 miles away, Irvine is right next to Santa Ana, so why all the vehicles? Third, why even make a video? Just help others and be humble, not “look what we are doing”.

  18. jon chouMay 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Okay so I MADE this video and I just wanted to clear things up for people.
    I DID ask UV to post this video on this site to hopefully inspire someone to go out and try to do something good for their community as well.

    But one of the main purposes of this video was to show our church (Newsong Irvine) what Burrito Project is all about and how the members of the church can help out. Being college students, money is tight which is why this video was shown at our church for people to help out whether it’s donations, prayer, cooking or to just come out on one of the days they go out to Santa Ana.

    Also, I DO NOT ride a bike at all nor am I an “active member” of Burrito Project. This video was my way of helping out these guys out because it was something I could offer for them.
    This wasn’t a way for them to show off, and they are not expecting anything return.

    The reason why they drive out to Santa Ana instead of biking because as you can see in the video there were some people who were riding mountain bikes. They want to include everyone to be part of this and it wouldn’t be fair for the people who don’t ride regularly to try to keep up with them. BUT they eventually want to ride out to Santa Ana when they get a chance. Either way, what is the problem with them driving out there? It’s easier to get around Santa Ana on bikes.

    And why burritos? Well, it’s easy to make, affordable, portable and it won’t spoil. Simple as that, I think they explain this from the guys who first started Burrito Project.

    People say this is just way for attention, or they’re just being posers (which they’re not), it’s easy to make quick judgements of people over the internet (yes, I have been guilty of doing so too), either way, why does this really matter? They still are SERVING their neighbors and they are GIVING LOVE to the homeless. You may not think so, but you’d have to see for yourself. When I went with them, there were many homeless people so thankful and appreciative of what these guys are doing and loved having conversations them.

    They decided on doing Burrito Project because they wanted to find a way to serve people on a regular basis. And as it was stated in the video, “since they love biking and love to cook” why not do something like this? They wanted to put together their talents and gifts to use. What’s the harm in doing so?

    Also, Burrito Project IS NOT the only thing they do by serving. Some serve the homeless in Riverside and some go out to different countries to serve there.

    Sorry that this was long I just wanted to clear some things up, and to answer some of people who had questions or concerns. And I am sorry that people became offended or disturbed by this video, that wasn’t my intention.
    It was my fault that this video wasn’t thorough enough, I wasn’t expecting that it needed to be.
    Anyways, hope you guys reconsider your thoughts about the video. If not, that is fine. I’ll respect your opinions and so will the riders of Burrito Project.

  19. JasonMay 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    i live out there… much respect keep doing what your doing=D…

  20. PhilSeptember 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    So many things wrong:

    1. Loading bikes into massive SUV for epic journey to burrito-starved neighborhood.


  21. Tommy HOctober 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I get it. It isn’t the solution, but it’s a start. Keep it up. Spread the word.

    FYI – I run a Sunday morning burrito project on the east coast. We deliver breakfast burritos (eggs, hash browns, cheese, sausage and green pepper).

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