This month we sat down with Alberto, a long time volunteer. Alberto has been volunteering with us for about two years and you will usually see him chopping flipping tortillas and then loading a bag to deliver burritos on his way home. Here’s what he had to say:
First off, what’s your favorite kind of burrito?
Alberto: I just like a good rice and bean burrito with a tasty salsa. If you wanna get fancy maybe throw some potatoes in there too. The burritos we serve to the community are perfect and I’m glad to be delivering such a high quality product to others. The combination of deliciousness, nutritious fulfillment, and affordability can’t be beat.
How did you first hear about volunteering with us?
A: I first learned about the Oakland Burrito Project (now the East Oakland Burrito Roll) from a post on a local vegan Facebook group. So I started out in Oakland and quickly learned that there were other chapters, including San Francisco. I loved my experience in Oakland and naturally wanted to expose myself to as many burritos as possible. Since then I volunteer for both as often as I can.
How long have you been coming to volunteer?
A: I’ve been volunteering at Burrito Project SF for about 2 years now.
What keeps you coming back?
A: Just knowing that there are so many people in need of a meal, and that my effort can help to provide that meal keeps me coming back. Delivering the burritos is a very powerful reaffirmation that what we are doing is needed and makes a difference. I really enjoy the one-on-one connections I encounter on my delivery route. Comments like “Oh wow and it’s warm too!”, or “Perfect timing I was about to eat this lousy can of tuna!” are truly what keep me going and always puts a smile on my face. Outside of delivery I also love being surrounded by the passionate team at Burrito Project SF. I’m often flipping tortillas as well. I love the challenge of cooking four tortillas at once on direct flames with no gloves. A few seconds too much and they get charred – you have to find the sweet spot. Shout-out to Wendy for catching my sometimes still on fire tortillas, and Wayne for screaming THREE HUNDRED FIFTY to the group to remind us how many burritos our efforts already produced! My ideal Monday is flipping tortillas, then delivering as much as I can afterwards.
Do you volunteer with any other organizations in the area?
A: Mentioned earlier that I also volunteer with East Oakland Burrito Roll. There’s a lot of need in the East Bay as well for a warm meal and they’re a wonderful group to be a part of. I’ve also volunteered with Curry Without Worry a few times, and try to donate to their collection box on Tuesdays at Civic Square Plaza. I would highly recommend donating your resources or effort to these organizations as well. I also started making and delivering burritos with my mother in the town I grew up whenever I go to visit. It’s a nice way to spend time with family and help the community at the same time.
What advice would you give to someone who’s interested in helping their community?
A: Never doubt that your effort can make a difference. A single meal, or even just a conversation with eye-contact, can absolutely make someone’s day. I very much look forward to my burrito days. Just go for it! You’ll get hooked and wish you had started earlier.