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Chipotle helps Salvation Army by partnering to feed homeless

Jan. 20, 2010

By Caty Hirst
Staff Writer

Chipotle in Waco is offering new services to the community by donating unused food to the Salvation Army. The food is donated Sunday through Thursday and consists of cooked rice, beans and meats.

Julian Alejos, the general manager of Chipotle in Waco, located at 1115 North Valley Mills Dr., said he is excited about this opportunity to help the community.

"It is pretty simple, we are able to do something special for the community and it is not costing us," Alejos said. "It is just the right thing to do I think; being responsible, not wasting and helping those in need."

After the employees bag up and weigh the extra food, members of the Salvation Army pick up the food the next morning.

"We don't shoot for (a) number, it is just whatever we have leftover to give, we give," Alejos said about the amount of food donated.

Vicki Richardson, office manager of the Salvation Army in Waco said the food is taken to their feeding center where they feed the homeless. The feeding center sees 50-60 people a day for lunch and about 100 people for dinner.

"It is working out very well," Richardson said, concerning the partnership with Chipotle.

Stanley Good, the lodge manager for the Salvation Army in Waco, said volunteers are welcome to come any day to help set up and serve food.

Dallas junior Brittany Stephenson believes serving the community is necessary and helpful to the community.

"I volunteer three times a week because it as important as homework and it is just as important as a real job," Stephenson said.

Many of the volunteers are Baylor students. "I want to let the students know we appreciated what they do," Good said. "We know they don't have to help, but they do."

Frisco junior Rusty Dryer is a crewmember at Chipotle and is happy to see the food going to good use.

"I have worked there about a year and a half and I have been trying to find a way to donate food, along with other employees," Dryer said.

The program, though not a local one, is a Texas project and was started by Douglas Johnson, the operations director for Chipotle in Texas. It currently operates in Central Texas, Dallas and Austin.

Dryer said Chipotle's involvement in the community demonstrates that the little man is not alone in the fight against poverty.

"I think it shows that not only local people are helping, but there are corporations across the United States willing to help," Dryer said.

He believes this will increase the involvement of the community and greatly help those in need.

Though the program has been in Texas for about a year, Chipotle in Waco started donating their food to the community in late November and are still new to the experience.

Alejos said Chipotle will continue to donate the food as long as there is a need.

"We plan on doing this indefinitely," Alejos said. "I don't see this stopping."

Chipotle is also involved in other philanthropies.

"All year long people come in with fundraisers and we donate," Alejos said. "We donate door prizes, dinners for poor people, raffles and stuff like that for people that need to raise money for someone that is ill or suffering."