Homeboy Industries, the struggling downtown Los Angeles non-profit that provides job training and other rehabilitation services to ex-gang members, has launched a line of salsa and tortilla chips that have been shipped to 256 Ralphs supermarkets in Southern California.
In launching the line Tuesday, Homeboy founder Rev. Gregory Boyle said he was inspired by the “product to non-profit” success of the late Paul Newman’s “Newman’s Own” food line. Homeboy’s products are inspired by recipes from Chef Pati Zarate at one of the group’s training businesses, Homegirl Café, and will feature Mexican flavors, such as salsa verde, mango and mole.
“Today is a milestone in the history and survival of Homeboy Industries,” Boyle said in a statement. “Thanks to our good neighbor Ralphs, our prayers have been answered … and we’re able to continue our mission of saving lives by creating ‘Jobs Not Jails’.”
In addition to carrying the line, Ralphs Grocery Co., a Los Angeles-based division of Kroger Co., made a $50,000 donation to the non-profit. “It brings us great pleasure to carry a quality product that our customers will not only enjoy, but it also allows them to make a positive difference in somebody’s life by supporting Homeboy Industries,” President Mike Donnelly said in a statement.
Struggling from declining contributions during the recession, Homeboy last May laid off much of its 427-person staff. Many have been hired back in recent months and the staff is up to 227, a spokeswoman said. Boyle now is focused on using the food line and other planned projects to stabilize his non-profit’s roughly $8 million budget and expand services.
Homeboy Industries has scheduled a food truck to tour Los Angeles over the next two weeks to sample the products. To see its schedule, follow “@HomeboyInd” on Twitter.
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