Clearfield Restaurant Offers Free Meals To Hungry Families

Dec 16, 2020, 5:44 PM | Updated: Dec 17, 2020, 7:51 am

CLEARFIELD, Utah – COVID-19 has impacted all aspects of our daily lives and small businesses, especially restaurants, have been devastated, but that’s not stopping a restaurant in Clearfield from offering free meals to the needy, even though it is barely getting by.

The food is still the same, and so is the service. But the empty dishes at Manuel’s El Burrito in Clearfield are because of more than just satisfied customers.


“This year has been — I don’t know what to predict,” said restaurant owner Manuel Gallegos Jr. “My dad started this restaurant in 1976 and this has been a hard year.”

Like many small mom and pop restaurants, El Burrito has been hit hard because of the pandemic and health department restrictions.

“March, April, May, of course, were just 50% of business if not lower. It really, really put us in a string,” said Gallegos.

Ever since dine-in seating opened again, business has been better — but still nowhere near the level he’s used to.

“Being a small business and then competing with the large corporations, it’s tough,” he said. “We just keep doing what we have to do.”

Manuel Gallegos Jr. visits with diners at his restaurant. (Winston Armani, KSL TV) Reviewing the menu at Manuel's El Burrito. (Winston Armani, KSL TV) The kitchen has been busier but Manuel's El Burrito is getting by. (Winston Armani, KSL TV) Order's up! (Winston Armani, KSL TV)

What really bothered him, though, was how he kept hearing stories about other people who had it worse.

“There’s a lot of people in need. A lot of families that don’t have dinner tonight, don’t have the money because they’re being laid off their jobs,” said Gallegos. “I’m thinking, how sad would that be if I had to go to my children and say, ‘I don’t have money for dinner for you?’”

Owning a restaurant, he decided he had to do something.

“Trying to help families and children that don’t go hungry tonight,” he said.

From 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, Gallegos will give food to families who need it for free. 

Of course, those are just the advertised times. 

Gallegos said he’ll really help needy families any time because empty bellies don’t look at clocks.

“I could cry, but I’m not going to cry,” he said with a laugh. 

He also set up a donation tree inside the restaurant so customers can pick a tag and donate to families. 

Gallegos knew doing this would cost even more money, but to him, there are some things more important than making budget.

“It’s the heart, man. It feels so good just to give,” he said. “They need it, and they appreciate it. I’m happy to help them.”

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Clearfield Restaurant Offers Free Meals To Hungry Families