Meet Father G, The Priest Who Revolutionized Food in LA

There's a very good reason why he's the new James Beard Humanitarian of the Year.

Father Greg Boyle (aka Father G), a Jesuit priest, founded Homeboy Industries 24 years ago in Los Angeles, and since then he has utterly changed the lives of tens of thousands of formerly active gang members by offering them careers in baking and food service. An 18-month program provides job training and employment for people seeking to transition from gang life.

On January 28, the prestigious James Beard Foundation, which gives out the culinary equivalent of the Oscars each year, announced that it has just given Father G the Humanitarian of the Year Award; he'll be honored at a ceremony in Chicago on May 2.

Since he launched his nonprofit organization, Father G has expanded it to include several social programs including two cafes, a food truck, a farmers market business, and Homeboy Foods, an online business offering nationwide shipping of cookies, cakes, coffee, preserves and more. The two-year-old Global Homeboy Network is helping to spread the organization's working model around the world.

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” Father G said in a statement, “but also heartened, because it acknowledges, as well, a community on the margins that has long been demonized. This award, then, imagines a circle of compassion outside of which no one is left standing.”

With luck, the award will help boost Homeboy's efforts to transform lives worldwide.

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