Recently Homeboy Industries’ Homeboy Bakery and Homegirl Cafe have been getting a lot of buzz. I’d heard on NPR that they were opening a cafe at LAX (Hallelujah! better food options at LAX!). I’d also seen an article in this month’s Sunset, and they just started showing up at the 7th + Fig farmer’s market below my office. Prior to that, riding the Gold Line to work, I’d seen their large facade in Chinatown and wondered what Homeboy was all about. So I decided to do a little research.
Turns out Home Boy Industries whose motto is “Nothing stops a bullet like a job” was started by Father Gregory Boyle as a way to get gang-involved youth off the street. Their front to the greater public is the bakery and cafe that they run but they also include an extensive program of case management, education, conseling and job training. Homeboy Industries goal is to get people working and then to send them back out into the real world. It’s such a great concept that their applicant pool is bigger than the number of people they can accept.
So what can we do? Help them expand. Support their business. Buy their baguettes (and they make a mean baguette), and check them out for Saturday brunch. I’ve heard it’s phenomenal and I think I might just go this weekend. And while you’re there get one of their awesome silk-screened Homeboy t-shirts.