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February 16, 2011

L.A. Gang Charity Sells Chips and Salsa to Raise Money

A Los Angeles charity that helps ex-gang members turn their lives around is pinning its hopes for a financial revival on cracking the snack-food market, writes the Los Angeles Times.

Homeboy Industries started to sell its brand-name tortilla chips and salsa last month at hundreds of Southern California grocery stores. The salsa recipe comes from a chef at Homegirl Cafe, one of the organization’s businesses that provides jobs for former gang members.

Homeboy laid off much of its work force last year but has brought back senior staff members  as donations stabilized in recent months, said Father Gregory Boyle, the priest who founded the organization 23 years ago. Proceeds from the food sales will help financial services such as employment counseling and tattoo removal.

“The aim is to expand the brand so that Homeboy becomes a household name and then a household idea,” and to augment normal fund raising “so at least we’re not white-knuckling it,” Father Boyle said.