Chipotle Is Honoring Healthcare Workers With Free Food For A Year. Here's How To Get Some

Anyone would be forgiven for blocking the first few months of the pandemic from their mind, but there's one good memory from that distressing time: nightly cheers for healthcare workers. From Seattle to New York City, people in cities across the country opened their windows somewhere around dinnertime to bang on pots and pans, blow whistles, and make all manner of noise to honor nurses and other frontline workers risking their lives as hospitals flooded with COVID patients (via NPR). Chefs operated guerilla-style kitchens to feed people in need and coordinated meal deliveries to hospitals; organizations like the Pan American Health Organization launched campaigns inviting healthcare workers to share their stories surrounding mental health; and people sewed masks at home and sent them to hospitals during N95 shortages. 

While the CDC reports that COVID hospitalizations are down in the U.S., nurses and frontline workers remain indispensable. In anticipation of National Nurses Day on May 6, Chipotle announced in an April 28 press release that it plans to give 2,000 medical professionals free Mexican food for a year, which is "equivalent to more than $1 million total in free Chipotle." How will the brand possibly choose the recipients of all those burrito bowls? It won't — you will. 

Fans can nominate healthcare workers in their communities

According to Chipotle's official press release, the chain is asking fans to "tag a healthcare hero that has made a positive impact on their life or their community" in designated posts on the Mexican Grill's Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter pages. Starting the week of May 9, the chain will "randomly select 2,000 medical professionals" from the comments and slide into their DMs to alert them of their free food prize. 

Chipotle made a similar charitable move in 2021 by giving away 250,000 burritos to healthcare workers and setting up a "virtual thank you wall" for community members to express their gratitude (via Today). "The morale of our healthcare heroes becomes more and more important each year," said Chipotle's chief marketing officer Chris Brandt in regards to the National Nurses Day promotion. "With the help of our fans, we're starting a movement for genuine recognition of our medical professionals that will fuel many of them with real food for a full year."

In addition to the promotion, Chipotle announced today that people can donate to the American Nurses Foundation by "[rounding] up their change to the next highest dollar" via the Chipotle app and through May 31. Now, what your chipotle order says about you may be that you're a hero.