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Tag: women

Celebrating the Many Moms of Our Community

This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating all the “MAF Moms” working hard to create better lives for their families through Lending Circles.

This Sunday is a day dedicated to the strong, wise, generous, and caring mothers in our lives. In the spirit of Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating a few MAF clients who are working hard to build bright financial futures for their families.

Three Generations of Chefs

For Guadalupe, cooking authentic Mexican cuisine has always been a family affair. As a girl, she and her mother made the tastiest tortillas from scratch, and now she and her daughters do the same. She used her Lending Circles loan to buy equipment and help pay for a van to expand her catering business, El Pipila — which she runs with her daughter to support their family.

When we last shared Guadalupe’s story in 2014, she dreamed of opening a small, brick-and-mortar food stand. Now, she’s a food vendor at The Hall in San Francisco and a food truck regular at Bay Area festivals. Guadalupe’s family is key to her success. “I am doing this for my daughters. I want to make sure that neither of them has to work for anyone but themselves”.

A Mom on a Mission

Helen, a single mom from Guatemala, came to MAF with a simple dream: to have a safe home for her children. Because she couldn’t afford the hefty security deposit and didn’t have a credit score, she had no choice but to rent rooms in shared apartments — including one with families living in hallways.

After joining a Lending Circle, Helen saved up enough for a security deposit and built her credit score. Now, she has her own three-bedroom apartment for her daughters, and even bigger dreams.

Whipping Up Cupcakes with Her Son’s Support

Elvia’s son ignited her passion for baking with a simple question: “Mom, what do you love to do most?” After building a reputation for having the best desserts at parties, her family and friends encouraged Elvia to start a bakery.

She used a $5,000 loan from MAF to invest in a fridge, business license, and a number of necessities to grow her bakery, La Luna Cupcakes. She now has a cupcake shop in Crocker Galleria in San Francisco, and her children continue to be her North Star. “I always taught them if you want something, you can do it! Believe in your dream!”

Thanks to Lesley Marling, MAF’s newest Partner Success Manager, for her contributions to this post.

Alicia: Tamale trailblazer

Alicia went from door-to-door sales to owning her own tamale food cart, using Lending Circles to overcome her debt and lack of credit score.

When Alicia first started her tamale business, she went door to door selling homemade tamales with her eight-year-old son, Pedro. Each week, she had enough money to buy supplies for 100 tamales and after she sold them all, she would bring home a tiny profit. A good week would end with Alicia making a $200 profit. She was working so hard but there was no way with that little profit that she could take care of all her bills.

A better future

The family struggled with unemployment and business debt. It was a very frustrating and stressful time for her but Alicia kept going because she believed in her tamale business. Joining a Lending Circle got Alicia her first loan for $1,000, which helped her to eventually open her own food cart business in San Francisco: Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas. Taking MAF’s financial management classes and paying her loans off on time helped Alicia get her finances in order.

“Before when my kids asked me to buy things, I would say ‘no, you have to wait.’ Now, they are surprised when I say ‘yes, let’s go!'”

Alicia went from selling 100 tamales by her self to managing 7 employees to make 3,000 tamales a week. You’ll soon be able to find Alicia’s Tamales in Whole Foods later this year and she’s working on a business plan to open up her first restaurant.

Rave reviews

“On Mondays, we make the fillings.Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we put the tamales together. Thursdays and Fridays, we package and deliver them to our happy customers!” Alicia said.

One of her happy customers is Heather Watkins, who will be serve Alicia’s delicious tamales at her upcoming wedding.

“There is so much to say about Alicia’s Tamales. Her whole heart and soul is transferred through her wonderful food. She is changing the lives of her community and family with her business. Her joy and hard work makes everyone around her feel like being apart of this movement is exactly where they are supposed to be, and inspires others to join in. My fiancee and I are honored to have such a trailblazer be apart of our wedding day,” she said.

After participating in Lending Circles, Alicia has been able to save money and plans to continue paying down her debt to live her American Dream. With the success of her food cart and catering service, she has some exciting projects in the work. You’ll soon be able to find Alicia’s Tamales in Whole Foods later this year and she’s working on a business plan to open up her first restaurant!

“We have a saying in my business,” Alicia said. “My tamales are stuffed with love and the best people are stuffed with my tamales!”

Leticia: Rising up

There is a saying when one hand helps the other hand, and together they applaud much louder than one alone.

Leticia immigrated to the Bay Area in her late 20’s for a better life. In less than two decades, she owned two houses, started two successful businesses, and was married with two children. She even brought in two foster children to give them a safe home. But in 2005, a succession of disasters shook Leticia’s strong spirit.

Leticia’s husband filed for divorce and made her solely responsible for their mortgages. Her business partners walked out on her and later, she became too ill to work for herself. “I felt powerless to do anything to change my life,” she said.

Losing her home and steady income also risked Leticia’s role as a foster mother. But she did not want to give up her foster children. She was determined to rise up. Leticia began applying for loans to start a food cart business. When bankers saw her large mortgages, they hastily declined.

Leticia joined her first Lending Circle in 2011 ready for a new start.

“I thought it would take 5 or 10 years for my credit to improve. I didn’t have time to wait,” she said.

To her surprise, after 18 months, Leticia’s credit score jumped 250 points to 608.

Because she paid back her loans on time, she qualified for a $5000 microloan from Mission Asset Fund. This loan will help launch what will surely be the first of Leticia’s many food carts.

She is grateful for the support of the community in helping her change her life and take care of her family.

“There is a saying when one hand helps the other hand, and together they applaud much louder than one alone.”