While many companies across the nation are looking for a handout from the government, East Coast quick-casual chain California Tortilla has introduced their “Burrito Bailout Program,” a temporary response to the current economic hardships.

Anyone who recently lost their job can send a copy of their proof of termination or unemployment papers to the company and they will receive a Burrito Elito card loaded with a free burrito redeemable at any of the chain’s 36 locations. Paperwork dated from November 2008 will be accepted.

“Times are tough for just about everybody,” said California Tortilla President Bob Phillips. “We know one burrito won’t solve all of a person’s woes but it might put a smile on their face and that is what we are all about at California Tortilla.”

Free Burrito requests will be accepted from February 9 through February 27, 2009. The unemployed can send paperwork to bailout@californiatortilla or California Tortilla’s World Headquarters at 20 Courthouse Square, Suite 206, Rockville, MD 20850. Coupons may only be requested from the Headquarters. California Tortilla will not return paperwork so customers are encouraged to send only a copy and cross out all personal information except for name and address.

In addition to the free burritos, the restaurant will award Burrito Elito cardholders with double points on all purchases from February 16 to March 15. Members usually receive one point for each dollar spent and earn a $5 gift card after accruing 50 points. Under the “Burrito Bailout,” the $5 gift card will come after just 25 points. The offer is valid for all purchases, except for catering and gift cards.

Earlier this year, California Tortilla pledged to stock the kitchens at the DC Central Kitchen and So Others May Eat by donating 400 pounds of rice and beans to the non-profits.

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