Community steps up to help Louisville woman after business vandalized for sixth time
A smashed window shattered her heart -- but now Pamela Haines says its the kindness of the community that is bringing tears to her eyes.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- She feeds the homeless, the hungry and the helpless, but this week the owner of Sweet Peaches found her hope in her community shattered.
Her restaurant was vandalized for a sixth time.
But today, the kindness of strangers is helping her pick up the pieces.
From the corner of S. 18th Street and W. Muhamamad Ali Boulevard, Pamela Haines sees the best and worst in her community.
"I always wanted to do something special," Haines said.
Her store, Sweet Peaches, grew from a bakery to a beacon in the Russell neighborhood. She offers art and home buying workshops and even washes school kids uniforms while helping them students with homework.
"I thought the only special thing I could do is give what I have to someone else," she said.
Sweet Peaches sits in the middle of one of Louisville's poorest and high-crime neighborhoods. People cook on the corners because there are so few options for food.
Haines sees faithful customers each and everyday and feeds them regardless of their ability to pay.
"Some of the homeless people who come in, I tell them, 'You know, I can give you something to eat, but if you are not clean, I have to give it to you outside,'" Haines said.
That's why this week when someone threw bricks at her business, it didn't just break the windows.
"It almost broke me," Haines said, sobbing.
It's the sixth time it's happened in two-and-a-half years.
"It broke my heart," Haines said. "There's no hope...I think people just don't have anything to hope for. No future to hope for."
She said every repair runs at least $2,000 and this time she would have had to take out a loan to pay it.
Just as her hope was shattered, strangers came to help pick up the pieces.
"This is in our neighborhood," said Keith Carney, of Stanley Schultze & Co. "I live in the Russell neighborhood and I see this all the time."
"That's what I'm here for -- and Stanley Schultz is here for -- is to replace these problems and to keep our neighborhood beautified," he added. "And if I can, and the company can, we're going to keep coming out and making it happen. The Russell neighborhood needs to change."
The company didn't just replace the glass for free, workers put in a material that was shatter-resistant so the next time someone comes with a brick or a bat, it will bounce back.
There is more good news inside the store.
Premier Sign and Display offered to replace Haines' Sweet Peaches logos at no charge.
"Oh my goodness," Haines replied, weeping. "It let me know that, 'Pam, you are not alone' -- that somebody believes in you and believes in what you do."
Louisville Metro Police has surveillance video of the person who busted out the widows but officers have not been able to find him. Haines says it's one of the people she's fed in the past for free.
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