Updated: November 16, 2020 10:28 PM
Created: November 16, 2020 09:45 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The Shop Breakfast and Lunch partnered up with KOB 4 to help Pay It Forward to Fathers Building Futures, a non-profit that helps formerly incarcerated fathers build skills to find a career.
The owner and chef of The Shop, Israel Rivera, opened his restaurant six years ago on Monte Vista Boulevard in northeast Albuquerque.
During the pandemic, Rivera said the restaurant community has had each other’s backs.
"At a time like this, restaurants aren't working against each other. We're all sending people to each other,” he said.
Rivera is grateful the kitchen at The Shop is still running, and said right now is not about making a profit—it’s about staying open.
"It's been weird. It's been hard, but we have such an awesome community around us,” he said.
KOB 4 ordered a few sandwiches from The Shop to personally deliver to a group making a difference in people’s lives.
Fathers Building Futures (FBF) is located on Pan American Fwy. in northeast Albuquerque.
Inside a wood shop, fathers released from prison are given a second chance in life by learning how to woodwork, which in turn teaches other life skills.
"We helped stabilize the fathers’ lives socially, emotionally, but we also help prepare them to be employees through job development, job preparation and job skills,” said Peter Sanchez, CEO of Atrisco Companies.
In eight years since the program had been running, Sanchez said more than 400 fathers have been rehabilitated.
Josue Gonzalez is one of those men currently volunteering to gather as many tools as possible to measure up for a career and build a stronger relationship with his children.
"It's a breath of fresh air. There's no judgement. There's no pressure,” said Gonzalez. "This opens the doors, as before I was just closed-minded and didn't see the light, and now I have options, which is something I couldn't say prior to this program.”
Rivera said he understands the feeling because he also spent some time incarcerated. After receiving some help, Rivera is now living proof that second chances can change someone’s life.
“I would have been like dead, if not in prison for the rest of my life,” said Rivera. “As somebody who's been through the correctional facilities and like, I turned my life around. I think it's so cool that there are programs out there to help people do that."
FBF has the carved items for sale. All the proceeds are given back to the program.
For more information about Fathers Building Futures, click here.
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