The Burrito Boyz

The bite: breakfast burritos

The inspiration: kids taking action

Burrito Boyz-cut
Artwork by Sorin

In San Diego, California, hundreds of people line up every Sunday, waiting for the Burrito Boyz. The breakfast burritos they make have been drawing crowds for over five years. The Burrito Boyz don’t run a Mexican restaurant. With dignity and respect, these youth volunteers feed the street homeless of San Diego.

This care for the community began in 2010 with two 12-year-old boys, Alec and his best friend Luke, and their Christmas wish list for some very high-end items. Alec’s father, Michael Johnson, was surprised by this and felt steps should be taken to impart some perspective about the realities of life, so he and his wife came up with the idea of feeding the homeless.

Starting out small one Sunday, the Johnsons and Alec’s friend Luke, prepared 54 egg and cheese burritos at home in their kitchen and distributed them to San Diego’s homeless. What initially seemed sort of like a punishment to Alec was in reality an inspiration to take action in the community. Alec and Luke felt like they were taking part in something significant.

Now, each Sunday, the boys begin at dawn and work in assembly line fashion to scramble, fill, and wrap 450 egg burritos. With hot burritos and bottled water, they head downtown where hundreds of men and women line up waiting.

The Burrito Boyz was inspired by the mentoring of Alec’s father and has developed into a nonprofit called Hunger2Help, Kids Taking Action. Their group has expanded from two to seven and includes regular youth and adult volunteers. Since November 2010, 119,472 hot meals have been served over 274 consecutive Sundays.

Sometimes it takes only one small step to start something special.