Cesia Abigail Baires is doing more than just serving up Central American food in her Minneapolis, Minn., diner. The owner of Abi’s Café, a Salvadoran café in the Midwest city, is making sure that she pays it back to the community. It all started when Marcus, a homeless man, walked into her café and asked for money. Rather than give him money, Baires offered Marcus a job to help since she was understaffed. Before Marcus took the job, he opened up about his felony past and Baires gave Marcus a meal. Baires took a photo of Marcus two weeks later and still working at the café and posted it to Facebook where it went viral.
“He told me about his situation. He said he got felonies, and nobody wants to hire him. Especially around this area if you look homeless they won’t even let you in,” Baires told ABC News. “To me that’s unacceptable.”
This is the Facebook post that Baires shared that has since gone viral.
He came in to the cafe one day asking me for some $$. I looked at him and asked him “why don’t you have a job, you know…
“His eyes opened wide and his smile made my day!!!! He said ‘I’ll do anything for some food,'” Baires wrote about the day she offered Marcus a job. “So now for almost 2 weeks he been on time for his two-hour shift: helping take trash [out], washing dishes etc. Once I pay him guess what he does? He buys food from my restaurant (HE DECIDES TO PAY) because it makes him feel good!”
She continued by writing, “God gave me this blessing so why can’t I bless others? ? This is what should break the internet. We want change? Well, start by making one team.”
Baires has received an outpouring of support since her story of compassion was shared on Facebook.
CREDIT: Cesia Abigail / Facebook
“He has been a blessing for me,” Baires told ABC News. “I don’t see it as me being a blessing to him. I see it as me being blessed, so I can bless him, so he can bless me.”
Even the New York Giants have shown in Minneapolis café owner some love.
CREDIT: Cesia Abigail / Facebook
“Just like Marcus, I had my help,” Abigail told CBS News. “I had plenty of people to help make it to where I am today. They believed I could do it. People need to have someone believe in them.”
Laura Geller’s latest holiday campaign is putting a spotlight on what makeup means to seven women experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in their “Makeup Means Something” campaign. To make “Makeup Means Something” happen, Laura Geller Beauty partnered with Beauty 2 The Streetz, a nonprofit organization founded by Shirley Rains that offers “the things that make us feel inherently human: a hot shower, a hearty meal, the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see,” according to the nonprofit website. Laura Geller is featuring the seven cisgender and transgender women in their 2019 holiday campaign to “help dispel misconceptions and demonstrate the power of beauty,” according to a statement by Laura Geller.
The campaign video opens with black and white footage of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Then, Tamara’s voice telling us, “Living on skid row is really tough. You just have to be focused and keep your mind on your goals. Just because I’m homeless… that doesn’t define me.”
The women’s reactions in the video are powerful.
CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE
“It makes me feel like a human being again. It makes me feel like a special person again,” Quoitorious Bagley’s voice softly asserts as we see her pose for photographers. “All the makeup combined together is really magical. It brings out the beauty that you thought was lost within you, and lets you know that it has not left. It was always within you,” she eloquently told Laura Geller. Beauty 2 the Streetz founder Shirley Raines puts the whole experience beautifully: “You can take makeup off, but you can’t wash away the feeling it gave you. Based on what each of these seven women had to say about the experience, Raines is right. “These makeovers are really powerful. They really are very healing,” Nancy Woodward, 58, said. “Nancy’s lived on Skid Row since 2011, and is attempting to find hope in her situation.” Laura Geller Beauty said in a social media post. “It’s like a light breaking through a thick darkness and it gives you a ray of hope and you start to feel better about yourself and it’s very powerful,” Woodward said. The video aptly chooses not to convey any “before” photos of the women and just allows their spirits to shine through based on how they choose to express themselves through beauty. While we meet each of these women, we hear their voices in the background.
“It instantly brightens me up, gives me joy and happiness,” another woman said.
CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE
“We are building friendships based on equality and compassion and it is this, more than simply the hair and makeup, that brings beauty to the streets,” Raines (pictured right) asserts in her nonprofit’s mission statement. So far, Beauty 2 the Streetz has been able to offer meals, showers, hair wash and color, make-up, wigs and human connection to over 400 people experiencing homelessness. “The people of skid row are just like everyone one else,” Beauty 2 The Streetz explains on their website. “They are people who have fallen on hard times who didnʼt have that lifeline to pull them out. Shirley is a beacon of hope in LAʼs ever-increasing homeless population. Every Saturday, rain or shine, she and her team come out to share a hot home-cooked meal, conversation, and most importantly connection.”
Laura Geller funded Beauty 2 the Streetz to do what it does best– remind women living on the streets of their natural beauty. “I believe that beauty is supposed to enhance, not cover up. That’s why I love my natural hair and my natural skin. This look accentuates my natural beauty,” Cherish Benham, 29, (pictured left) told Laura Geller Beauty.
Carmen Tolentino, 40, was one of the trans women that the campaign affirmed.
CREDIT: LAURA GELLER BEAUTY / YOUTUBE
Laura Geller Beauty is going beyond offering beauty services. The brand is trying to raise money for Beauty 2 The Streetz by selling the limited edition tee-shirt every model is wearing. All proceeds of the Laura Geller and Beauty 2 The Streetz branded fitted shirt will be donated to the nonprofit to continue its mission to elevate spirits in the Skid Row community.
“Laura Geller understands that everyone deserves to feel beautiful, regardless of where they lay their head at night and that’s a bold statement,” Raines said in a statement, adding that not all brands want to partner with a nonprofit that helps the homeless, “as if it’s wrong to be without.”
It started with a simple tweet: “Aver which one do prefer?” Bryant Sosa Lara (@urfavsalvi) asked Twitter their favorite tamal, alongside a photo of different maíz-featured recipes emblazoned with their corresponding emoji flags. Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan Twitter rose up to toss their votes into the ring, and to defend their nation’s tamal recipe. “And I’m not trying to start an argument lol you’ll be surprised by my answer,” Sosa Lara follow-up tweeted to no avail. Thousands of likes, retweets and comments later, #Guatemala started trending and Sosa Lara had to post the most bien portado video to explain Latin America’s biggest misunderstanding yesterday.
Twitter users were quick to point out that one of these is not a tamal.
The Salvadoran “tamal” is in the center and before you start questioning (like everyone else) why El Salvador is represented by a burrito, don’t. “The salvi tamal is wrapped cause it JUST CAME OUT LA OLLA IT WAS HOT AF pasmados inútiles,” Sosa Lara defended. Guatemaltecos rose from their graves to point out that their representative dish is not a tamal. “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in banana leaf wtf,” tweeted one Guatemalteca. “Those are chuchitos,” another Guatemalteca pointed. Pretty soon, everyone and their mother were trying to point out that Sosa Lara was wrong.
“Thats not a Guatemalan Tamale. The ones from Guate are made using a banana leaf and is like twice the size of Mexican tamales,” tweeted one Señor Leo (@SenorLeo_). “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in a banana leaf that are then individually wrapped in aluminum foil so that they’re as moist as possible,” tweeted Ivan Ortega (@IvanOrtega94). Others were perplexed AF, tweeting cropped photos of the Guatemalan dish and asking, “que en the f*** es esto?” Someone else hilariously joked, “Damm Guatemalan joints are FIREEEEE”
Guatemalan Twitter educated the lost and confused: “It’s a Chuchito, it isn’t really a Guatemalan Tamale.”
“ES LA MISMA MIERDA!!!!! people really trippin cuz this man displayed a chuchito 💀” an incredulous tweeter shared along with a screenshot of a Google image search of chuchitos. Guatemalan chuchitos are usually much firmer and smaller than Mexican tamales but are prized for the salsa and curtido that comes with it. While Guate chuchitos are made with maís like Mexican tamales, in Guatemala, a tamal is always wrapped in a banana leaf and made of potatoes or plantains.
“Lmao leave it to a salvadorian to start a full on war 🇬🇹,” someone else tweeted.
Even though Sosa Lara never called them tamales, the Internet got confused and started dissing Guatemala, enraging Guatemalans.
“Guate with the sad a** tamal. that jaunt ta mal,” tweeted one Francisco. Of course, no proud Guatemalteca would allow their country’s tan rico tamales and chuchitos to be so misunderstood. “That ain’t no Guatemalan tamal that’s a chuchito,” one Adrienne responded. A dialogue commenced. “Ma’am that’s the word used to described a small dog in Salvadorian lingo. Example: “El perro de blues clues es un chuchito”. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk,” Francisco replied. “Well in guate it’s what that pic tries to pass as a traditional tamale,” Adrienne responded. Okay, alright, we see you.
But Lara Sosa *never* once called the chuchito a tamal and had to post a video to clarify and end the war.
“Why they diss our tamales like that?? It don’t even look like this?? 🇬🇹” tweeted @muertoculo. Sosa Lara took time out of his life to individually respond to the offended Guatemaltecos to tell them, “Scroll down and look at my video pasmado.” In the video, Sosa Lara took a moment to politely educate the people who called him “uncultured swine.” To all the folks who came out to angrily tell Sosa Lara that the chuchito isn’t a tamal… he knows. After people watched the video, there was only one conclusion to be made: that man es bien portado. He politely recited all the shade he got and spoke “con todo respeto.”
Y’all. The Chuchito won anyway.
Though Sara Martinez has an idea that could give us peace on earth. Why do we have to compare what the word “tamal” means in different countries? Her bid for world peace is to just compare dishes, regardless of their name, based on their ingredients. “K, first off: chuchitos are not even in the same level and they still won. Second, We need to start comparing husk with husk tamales and banana leaves with banana leaf tamales. Masa with masa and masa de papa with masa de papa. Don’t trip,” Guatemalteca Sara Martinez tweeted, enforcing universally respected tamal rules.