Inspiration comes from many different sources… my current source of inspriation is being fueled by a 22-year-old young man named Carlos Munoz who was born, raised and currently resides in Indio, CA.
Carlos Munoz is not only one of my favorite up and coming artists in the Coachella Valley, but he is also a great man/friend and an even more inspiring active community member.
Carlos’s most recent activist endeavor is supplying the homeless in and around his neighborhood with one of life’s most precious gifts: burritos! Carlos has been collecting burrito ingredient donations (beans, cheese, toritillas, foil, etc) from his peers through his involvements with Cup of Happy’s Open Mic Nights at the The Hood Bar and Pizza in Palm Desert on Wednesday nights. After spending long nights in the kitchen crafting his burrito creations (with a little help from Mom), Carlos then wakes up in the weeeeeeeeee hours of the morning, hops on his bike, and passes out each burrito by hand to the homeless people he comes across on his hour long ride.
In my opinion, the coolest thing about this is that Carlos is out there by himself in the heat of the Summer doing this and nobody told him to do it. He’s a go-getter. Carlos had an idea on how he could contribute to his community by doing something that he enjoys (biking and burritos) and just went out there and actually did it… despite the heat… despite not having a group of friends to join him…..despite the fact that it might be a little intimidating and out of his comfort zone. I love that.
Another rad aspect to Carlos’s Coachella Valley Burrito Project is that he has been documenting his experiences of passing out the burritos via his blog, www.gnarlosart.com. He is honest in telling what happens out on the road… getting a little sketched out from time to time… but all-in-all it seems like Carlos finds his work very rewarding.
Read below to find out more about the Coachella Valley Burrito Project directly from the creator, Carlos Munoz, himself. He documents his experiences on his blog and is always looking for people to join in with him.
What Carlos is Collecting:
- Frijoles ( thats beans for ye gringos )
- Flour Tortillas
- Salsa ( donated by mi madre )
- Tin foil
Anything given to me that is not usable whether it be cans of gravy, fruit cocktail, or a canned bean that is not black or pinto will be donated to the find food bank.
My mission is simple, feed people that are hungry. Homelessness is a serious problem, and it is something that I see everyday in my community. I need to help, and although I am ill equipped to offer any sort of substance abuse guidance or psychiatric help, I am able to address hunger. By meeting this very need I hope to build trust with the individuals and give them as many resources that I can. I am lucky to have many friends that are willing to help, and have abundant resources to pass on.
I did some recon work today and i have been planning my route.
Carlos’s Burrito Journal:
I set the alarm on my phone for 7:30am last night.
I woke up at 9:30, thanks a lot, phone. I wake up feeling a bit discouraged, my first ride out and already i blew it….but that feeling quickly went away went i stepped outside and realized what a gorgeous day it is. I stayed up late last night and prepared the burrito filling.
- 3 Cans of refried pinto beans
- 2 cups of rice
- Salsa mixture ( mein momma, and Arriolas )
- Whole pinto beans (mein momma)
Tortillas also donated by Arriolas
I got to filling and wrapping
BURRITO TOTAL : 28
I filled my bag and hit the road, i cruised down Miles and stopped at the park in Old Town Indio, i encountered 2 guys and a girl sitting on the bench, im a bit unsure on how to approach them so i thought back to my cup of happy outreach training; announce yourself from a distance and get to the point
” you guys hungry? want some burritos?”
” Sure,what kind?” the guy is a cholo covered in tattoos.
” Bean, cheese, rice and spinach”
” No salsa, mr. Bean?”
” Oh theres salsa in there, my name is Carlos”
” Ey can i borrow your bike so that i can go to the store?”
Thats my cue.
“Sorry man, i’ve got burritos to deliver”
I make my way down Indio Blvd. and head towards Marthas Village and Kitchen. i pedal over to an abandoned convenience store “LA CACHANILLA” it says in eroding block letters, sitting on the stoop are a couple of folks hanging out with blankets laid out, theres a couple with a dog and another guy off to the side taking a nap. They seem a bit weirded out that im approaching them and once again i announce myself and ask if they’re hungry. They take the burritos and kindly say thanks, i tell’ em ill catch them later and they all say bye. That area has a large concentration of people pushing carts and riding bikes, a lot of them are hanging out by the liquor store and its proving difficult for me to determine who is in need, having to profile someone as homeless and hungry is uncomfortable but i use my best judgment. I ride past the Mission and it is filled with people, hanging by the patio with the misters on. Towards the outskirts of the mission is a man sitting on the curb, he’s white and has a backpack with him, i ask if he’s hungry.
“When am i not hungry is a better question.’
” Well ive got some burritos if your interested”
He stuffs the burritos in his bag and tells me they will come in handy later.
“Do you utilize Marthas Village and the CV Rescue mission?”
” Yeah i do, the mission serves Breakfast from 6 to 7 , Marthas serves lunch 11-12, and dinner is served at the mission around 5″
He introduces himself and tells me his name is Roach. I say later to Roach and i take off.
Theres a gas station/ pawn shop on the corner of Indio Blvd and Van Buren and i was told that there was a small camp behind it called the beer gardens, its enclosed by a gate and covered by trees, i peak in and see atleast 15 people, some drinking, some laughing, some sleeping and one guy is getting super refreshed with the hose. I dont have enough burritos for everyone so i decide to come back again, i’d like to figure out more about this spot.
I head back to my neighborhood, and stop by the food 4 less shopping center. I met a guy named Irish, he had stacks of change that and looked like an older Travis Barker, skinny and covered in tattoos, with a few swastikas scattered about ( i really want to ask him about them but i chickened out)
My final stop is by the winchells donut, i spot a group of three guys and i offer them the goods. One of them is white guy with a long pony tail, he tells me a story about being a 3 time rock and roll hall of famer.
“You have no idea who i am, do you? Im Brian McDonald”
He mentions some of the bands he’s played with but i don’t recognize any of them, he then tells me about getting beat up by a group of cops.
“Why were they hassling you?”
“ i was having an epileptic episode and they told me to calm down, then they tackled me and kicked me and hit me in the head with a club.”
He lifts his hat and i can see red underneath his white thinning hair.
All i can say is ” Thats fucked up”
“Hey if i give you a few bucks, can you go and buy me a bottle of vodka?”
That’s my cue, i tell’ em i cant and ask him if he usually hangs out there for future burrito runs.
He looks me in the eye’s and shakes my hand and says
” No, im gonna go turn myself in to the recovery center.”
This initial ride was incredibly useful and eye opening, so many streets to be explored and patterns to be observed. Holding weekly rides was the plan, but i feel like i can go out any day at any time and will still not have enough. I need help and i know i will get it.
‘Tiz only the beginning.
to read more, please visit Carlos’s blog: www.GnarlosArt.com
Connect with the Coachella Valley Burrito Project via Facebook Fan Page:
Also, make sure to check out Carlos’s amazing art and following his Burrito blog posts!!!
I’m such a fan. He goes by Gnarlos Art. Such good work by such a good man.
Stay tuned in because next week to the CVAS blog as we will be featuring Carlos’s new video recaps of his Burrito Project missions!!!
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To get involved, donate, or help out… please contact Carlos at: