Homeless Mom opens her own Restaurant
This story begins at a gas station in Puna. I was pumping gas, and as it typically happens, a woman comes up to me and asks if I have money for gas for food for her children. She was living in a van with 2 little one's and needed help. I of course purchased food and gas and invited her to come to our Christmas party. This party became their tradition over the next few years, and she enrolled the girls in other programs we offered. Her girls were part of our after school programs and were so dedicated in learning. They were talented, kind and overall just sweet girls who learning the struggles of growing up homeless. Mom did her best and always looking for work, something to move forward.
Eventually she left the program and I hadn't heard from her in a while. This is a very typical. We know we might have a short time with these children and take that time seriously to impact their lives with hope and strength to keep fighting.
Years later I get a message on Facebook from a restaurant owner who would like to donate the pans of rice for our Christmas party. I kindly replied and didn't think twice. I then get another message stating that I might not remember her, but she knows me as her "Guardian Angel" that helped save her life and give her back her hope of a better future. She continued to state that because of our back to school and other programs she participated in gave her the security she knew her children would be cared for and allowed her to focus on her dreams. She was the proud owner of a restaurant. This restaurant was a huge success in her small town. When she opened the restaurant she hired other homeless moms to help. She hosted community events and promoted other small businesses. She would always say it was her way to pass on the help she was given by our program. She wanted to be known in the community as a supportive figure.
I watched her progress as she posted on social media and was so proud for her. A few years had gone by and I saw a post of a new oven. The post was how excited she was to be able to purchase an oven for her very own house. She had become a homeowner. She would never be homeless again. Her children were now in high school and helping at the restaurant. Watching their mother build a future and turn her life around for them.
Another day she posted a photo of a the "new" car she has purchased for herself on Valentines day. It was a Cadillac. She posted how she had always wanted to own a fancy car and never thought it possible. She was so happy.
She continued to post uplifting stories and photos of her girls graduating high school. This is all part of the success that can be achieved through our program regardless where they start in their journey.
Due to the Lava Flow the restaurant did have to close down, but not her passion. She now has 3 mobile locations including one on O'ahu. Making her famous Poke Nachos and Rainbow Lemonade.