Sawubona in the News
Check out what people in San Diego and all around the Country are saying about the work we are doing!
Bob is the President of the Alpha Project in San Diego. We partner with them to bring breakfast to 360 people every Saturday morning.
The Darden Link
The Darden Link is a Monthly Newsletter for one of the biggest multi restaurant brand operators in the United States. They have partnered with our partner Aztecas Design for over 22 years and recently wrote the following article about us:
“Aztecas Design President Gabriela Grabowski remembers her humble beginnings walking the streets of downtown San Diego with a small sample of her hand-blown glasses trying to make a sale. Backed by her faith and relentless spirit, she was not going to quit until she reached her goals.
Nearly 24 years later, her company still embodies her entrepreneurial spirit and stands as an example of what she has accomplished as an inspiring female, minority leader. Her drive to champion other women to reach their goals is what motivates her professionally.
“There are challenges that come from being a female especially with a strong accent in the business world,” said Grabowski. “I would like for other women to see what they can do regardless of what are the disadvantages. I encourage all women to take the first step and just do it.”
Grabowski recently celebrated her 20th anniversary as a supplier with Darden. She still remembers talking to a food and beverage representative from Darden at a trade show two decades ago. He loved her products and the rest was history. In the years since, her company has supplied the highest quality, hand-blown glasses and accessories for brands like LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and Olive Garden.
“Aztecas Design and Gabriela are a class act – not only are they professional partners who manufacture high quality, crafted glassware that make our margarita presentations stunning, they also give whole-heartedly to the people of their local community. This spirit of service fits our own philosophy at Darden and we are proud to call them partners,” said Helen Mackey, Vice President of Beverage at Darden.
Several years later, Grabowski’s daughter came walking down those same downtown San Diego streets as a student at the University of San Diego. This time, she and a friend were heading to volunteer at the homeless shelter. They quickly realized that there was not much they could do because the funding was not there to help the homeless population.
Grabowski opened her heart, and with her two daughters, founded a non-profit called Pancake Peeps. The mission of the organization was to give aid to the homeless, but more importantly, make them feel human again. The three women host 360 homeless people every weekend for a pancake breakfast. They also celebrate other special occasions with their new friends.
“By hosting the pancake breakfasts, we have gotten closer to them and got to know each of their stories. Now, we celebrate their birthdays. We sing "Happy Birthday", bring cakes and balloons. We also celebrate Mother’s Day with a special dinner, music and flowers,” she said.
The food and gifts mean a great deal to the homeless, but the attention and respect Grabowski and her daughters bring is priceless.
“We want to bring the human side back to them. People label them homeless and dirty. We say we love you regardless.”
Grabowski leaves her mark on 360 people a week, which equates to more than 18,000 a year. She does it because it makes her happy, but to each individual, it gives them hope for a better future.
“Every one of the people we feed will have one additional meal than they had before. We aren’t trying to solve the problem for the whole world. We are just doing what we can to help them today.”
To her, the fight against hunger can be won as long as everyone does a little bit.
“I believe if we all team together, we can stop hunger. But we should not focus on what we can’t do. We should focus on what we can do.””