Several months ago, I was in Los Angeles with a friend who was telling me about a Jesuit priest who in the late 80's, had built a close relationship with rival gang members in the roughest parts of the LA area. Eventually, the community grew to respect the priest and he started Homeboy Bakery. The bakery was a place where troubled males could learn work skills, learn alternatives to the street life, and most importantly, learn work side by side with their rival gang members. The Homeboy Bakery brought many success stories and over time, Homegirl Cafe opened. Homegirl Cafe provides the same services as the Bakery does but to troubled females.
After hearing this story, I was amazed how one man could bring so much peace to such a violent and hateful community. I still have not had the pleasure of tasting the Homeboy/Homegirl eats but I was excited to see the Homegirl Cafe featured in the November 2010 issue of Susent Magazine. The Homegirl Cafe offers public and private cooking classes (making tamales in late November!), catering services, and has a garden, which provides the freshest ingredients to the Cafe. For a menu and more information on this awesome organization that was started by Fr. Greg Boyle, check out Homeboy Industries.