Rita's Burritos looks to help Chandler community during outbreak, offers free meals to health care workers, first responders

Darcie and Gilbert Meraz, owners of Rita's Burritos in Chandler, said they are looking to help the community in any way they can. (Courtesy Rita's Burritos Facebook)
Darcie and Gilbert Meraz, owners of Rita's Burritos in Chandler, said they are looking to help the community in any way they can. (Courtesy Rita's Burritos Facebook)

Darcie and Gilbert Meraz, owners of Rita's Burritos in Chandler, said they are looking to help the community in any way they can. (Courtesy Rita's Burritos Facebook)

Rita's Burritos, located at 4040 S. Arizona Ave., Ste. 17, Chandler, has been in Chandler for just about four and a half years. But when the coronavirus outbreak hit, Rita's' owners, Darcie and Gilbert Meraz, said they made a vow to help their community.

They posted on social media that they had access to rice, beans, toilet paper and eggs. As of March 27, they said, they have given out 150 pounds of pinto beans, 100 pounds of rice, 100 rolls of toilet paper and 60 dozen eggs to community members in need.

Now, the business is offering free meals March 27-28 to all hospital staff, nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters and paramedics.

"We heard from friends and social media that people couldn't find the items they needed in stores," Darcie Meraz said. "We wanted to be able to offer what they needed. It's a very hard time. It's a hard time for everyone. We just want to make sure our friends and people in our community are taken care of."

Meraz said that they offered the beans, rice, toilet paper and eggs at no cost; still, Meraz said, some of the people who came to collect groceries from Rita's Burritos offered monetary donations in return for their essentials. Meraz said she did not want to accept, but when people insisted, she and her husband decided they could use that money and put it toward meals for those fighting the coronavirus.


"Through generosity of friends and guests of Rita’s, they made donations and said that they wanted to help," she said. "My husband had talked about doing something like this—first, just to do it on our own. Then, we had friends and guests wanting to help."

She said during this time of crisis, the business just wants to do what it can to help.

"I think what's most important is that we are here for [the community]," Meraz said. "If they are in a tough time, if there is something we can do to help ease troubles during this time, we are here to help. This is so scary for a lot of people. There are businesses that are laying off thousands of people, and it's happening in our community, too, and we just want to be a part of helping others who need it."

In terms of the restaurant's own business, Rita's Burritos has pivoted, like so many other eateries, to offering takeout and curbside orders during the coronavirus outbreak.

"It's definitely been a bit challenging, we are doing our best," Meraz said. "We are getting better every day with it. It's an extra step, but we are happy to do it to help [stop the spread of the virus]."

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