I wanted to share something really exciting with the Los Angeles Community. Homeboy Industries is a Los Angeles non-profit organization started by Father Gregory Boyle. The mission of Homeboy Industries is to redirect gang members toward productive futures through counseling, job training and job placement. Homeboy Industries is located in downtown Los Angeles and works with current and former gang members throughout Los Angeles. Homeboy Industries has several enterprises including the Homegirl Café, Homeboy Bakery and even offers tattoo removal services.

Homeboy Industries recently went through a severe economic downturn due to the general lack of charitable giving. They had to lay off many employees, as well as curtail many of their services to clients. The Los Angeles corporate community responded to the Industries’ fiscal shortcomings, including Ralph’s Markets.

I went to Ralph’s to purchase goodies for a Super Bowl party I was attending and I saw a new item, Homeboy Salsa! Two flavors were available. I immediately purchased four containers. The salsa was a hit at the Super Bowl Party, but the guests did not know the significance of the purchase.

Ralph’s partnered with Homeboy Industries and agreed to place the salsa in their markets all over Southern California. The salsa is based on recipes from the chef in charge of Homegirl Café. Ralph’s helped Homeboy industries get the product packed through a distributor and agreed to cut any costs for product placement in their stores.

This is a perfect example of what the private business sector and non-profits can do to make our community a better place for all Los Angeles County residents. The salsa is providing jobs and continued services by Homeboy Industries. Ralph’s stores benefit because they have helped to create a new local business that will be popular in communities they serve. More importantly they have proven to be good corporate citizens. This is something we can all applaud.

Every purchase of the salsa helps to keep Homeboy Industries afloat. And Homeboy Industries helps to keep the future of Los Angeles afloat. When individuals who have committed crime are provided a means to integrate back into society, after serving their punishment, we create a stable and vibrant community. If these individuals do not have hope then we create a segment of the populace that has no choice but to live outside the law. That is not the Los Angeles that we wish for our families and loved ones.

Homeboy Industries is one of the treasures of Los Angeles. Father Gregory Boyle demonstrates a faith in people that is unshakeable. It takes that kind of commitment to run organizations that are in the business of providing hope.

Homeboy Salsa seems to be a hit in Ralph’s stores. If that salsa can continue to sell throughout Southern California, we will all be able to enjoy more servings of hope for a brighter future. So go out and buy this salsa!!