“We found on Monday that the No. 1 snack in all the 256 Ralphs sold for an entire week was Homeboy Chips,” Boyle said.
The Jesuit priest drew a standing-room-only crowd Thursday to Incarnation Catholic Church, where he shared excerpts from his new book, “Tattoos on the Heart.” It chronicles the more than two decades he has spent working with the poor in Boyle Heights.
“The whole idea of Catholicism is we are shaping this world in a place of peace, justice and love, and there is no better guy than Father Greg to teach us to do that,” said Dominic Pontrelli, a member of Incarnation’s Peace and Justice group who helped organize Boyle’s visit.
Boyle began his ministry in the 1980s when he was serving as pastor of Dolores Mission, a Roman Catholic Church nestled amid the Pico Gardens and Aliso Village housing projects. There he founded the Jobs for a Future program, which was designed to help people find sustainable employment.
In 1992, he launched his first business venture, Homeboy Bakery, creating a space where ex-gang members could gain work experience and learn to interact with former enemies.
The Homeboy enterprise has since expanded to include several new divisions, including a shirt printing business, Homegirl Café and the Homeboy mobile food truck. The nonprofit serves about 12,000 people each year.
It includes a wide range of social services, including tattoo removal, parenting classes and drug counseling, as well as professional development opportunities such as job placement and solar panel installation training.
Much of the organization is built around a single mantra: Nothing stops a bullet like a job.