Homeboy Food Truck
Since its opening in 2007, Homegirl Café has been a destination for Angelenos who enjoy “Mexican food with a twist.” The café is also a safe, encouraging training ground for the women who work there. Under the leadership Café Manager Arlin Crane, Homegirl Café is constantly trying new things; last year we began selling tamales made from scratch for the holidays, in keeping with Mexican tradition. We also invite volunteer groups to participate in “tamaladas,” tamale-making parties at which former gang members and volunteers work side by side, sharing food and stories.
Homeboy Industries also recently launched the Homeboy Food Truck, which employs several alumni from Homegirl Café. The truck specializes in chilaquiles—fried tortilla strips with toppings like red mole chicken, chipotle skirt steak, veggies, and cotija cheese—and also serves up tacos, sandwiches, and pastries.
In the past year, 39 trainees have worked at Homegirl Café and received wrap-around services at Homeboy Industries, including case management, education, counseling, and tattoo removal. Fifty trainees (including café workers and those in our other food-related social enterprises) received California ServSafe Food Handler’s permits. Homeboy graduates went on to work for companies such as DeLuscious Cookies, Little Mama’s Café, and Robek’s Juice.
Delicious food is a means to a more important end: helping women who’ve faced nearly impossible hardships rediscover their own worth. A trainee named Lily recently said she now tries to see her the challenges she’s faced “not as my enemy but my dearest friend, allowing it to bring out the best…. Homeboy Industries has allowed me to accept my past as a wonderful part of me. It helped me see my strengths and how important I am.”