Addressing the Homeless Crisis with Burritos, Music and Love
FEBRUARY 19, 2020 | By Adrian Gonzalez
As one travels through the southland it’s very evident that there’s a homeless crisis. Public response to the crisis can range from sympathy, apathy to disgust. Regardless of your opinion of the numerous homeless in our area, most agree something must be done. This is where we meet “The OC Burrito Project.” Founded in 2015 by Garrett Dunbar, and 2016 board member Randy Ulrich.
The truth is being homeless is not transferable, it’s not a disease. It’s often a circumstance that can happen to anyone. After all, music artist, Jewel once said “I developed a loyal following. No one knew I was homeless.”
With that sentiment as a backdrop, The OC Burrito Project collects and distributes shoes, clothes, hygiene products and of course burritos. In the beginning Ulrich and Dunbar would often be found cooking large batches of vegetarian burritos from scratch and coordinating an assembly line of burrito volunteers. The group would then venture out into the community and offer a burrito to those in need.
As more Churches and organizations step up to feed the hungry in Orange County and in the rest of California; The OC Burrito project has shifted priorities to collecting and distribution of clothing and items that those in need will benefit from. Sometimes the smallest and simplest gestures make the biggest positive impact on a soul.
Ulrich is a well known and well liked concert promoter in the OC music scene. He and his signature white mustache are often found at the Doll Hut in Anaheim, California where he greets everyone with a gleaming smile and a warm hearty handshake or hug. He uses the Doll Hut as a hub for collections and/or donations. he also utiltizes the location as a place to host charity shows that directly aide the OCBP. You also have to give credit where it’s due, and hats off to the Doll Hut for their involvement.
When he’s not at the Doll Hut or cooking burritos, Ulrich is out and about like any of us. He encourages the public to just “say hi” to those who appear to be homeless and when you have built up the courage, show them the compassion you’d like for yourself, a friend or family member if they would to ever find themselves in their shoes.
Like many challenges in the world we should ask ourselves “what can I do to help?” Ulrich simply says “Do something,” adding that “Small actions together can have big results.” Meaning, if one person collects socks, another toothbrushes, and yet an other soaps and shampoos… those ideas can be combined into a hygiene care kit that can help someone in need.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend | Randy Ulrich
The OC Burrito Project encourages those who can to please clean out their closets and they will kindly take their used clothes, shoes or blankets and deliver them to those who could truly use them to get from today to tomorrow, and then the day after that.
Another simple act that has a big impact is when traveling collect hotel soaps / shampoos and donate them. Hotel and sample size products are perfect for care packages and can help someone have a comfortable shower and feel more accepted while out and about. If you don’t have any items to donate the OCBP is always in need of volunteers to help assemble and distribute care packages and burritos. In the past groups of coworkers, church groups, and people just looking for a cause to support have lined up filled and rolled hot delicious burritos.
The most important thing Ulrich wants us to remember is that the homeless are people. They are our brothers and sisters, and friends. Homeless does not discriminate. These souls are members of our community.
Ulrich was once confronted and was told that the homeless should “just go back to where they came from.” In true polite Ulrich fashion he replied “this is where they’re from. Most homeless are from the area they inhabit.” The simplest thing we should do is look them and the eye and say hello Ulrich says. We have an unwritten social contract to look at each other, acknowledge others existence and make eye contact. We tend to erase that when someone is homeless. When you speak with another human being, who happens to be homeless… just ask them if they are OK and if there is anything they need. The stories will flow out of them.
One story that Randy remembers fondly is when he spoke with a young woman who had moved out and became homeless to avoid an abusive relationship. The one thing she wanted to do was to call her aunt and let her know she was alive and OK. Because of the phone call they were able to make plans to meet up and reconnect.
No Act of Kindness No Matter How Small is EVER Wasted
Your next chance to help the Orange County Burrito Project will be on February 22 When the OCBP will host a “Blanket and Sock Drive”. The event will be at the World Famous Doll Hut, in Anaheim. There will be 22 bands and drink specials and for the extremely affordable price of $10. Those who attend are encouraged to bring blankets and socks to donate. The Drive will be headlined by Glitter Trash, Porcelain Hill, and Xtine and the Reckless Hearts.
Something To Believe In
For more information on how you can help out our homeless brothers and sisters in our community please visit the OC Burrito website or follow them on Facebook.
Critters are our Loyal and Faithful Companions no matter where we call home
Things you can do for the Homeless.
*Collect socks, socks are the number one needed item
*Donate rain ponchos
*Volunteer to help distribute food or hygiene items
*Have a clothing or hygiene collection drive
*Save and donate sample or hotel size shampoos and soaps