Former Habitat for Humanity homeowner gives back through tacos

Habitat for Humanity fundraiser flyer taped to the cashier station at Memo's Kitchen (Jennevieve Fong / News 10)

Memo's Kitchen is celebrating Taco Tuesday by donating 100 percent of their proceeds Tuesday night to Habitat for Humanity. Selling tacos for only $1.50 , the fundraiser has a special meaning for the restaurant's owner, who was a Habitat for Humanity homeowner himself.

"It was a blessing for me," restaurant owner Guillermo "Memo" Vega Sanchez said. "Even if I do this for them, it’s not enough for me."

Sanchez owns a Mexican-American restaurant in Medford. He said he has been in the food industry for the last 25 years, since immigrating to the United States. But, he wasn’t always a successful business owner.

"Long time ago, I was in bad condition, living conditions, but somehow I knew about Habitat and it was like a blessing for me," Sanchez said. "I didn't know before, but when I knew what the program was, it was amazing for me to know about."

With some help from Habitat for Humanity, Sanchez was able to build his way up from a dishwasher, to cook, to restaurant owner.

"Memo has a very unique story," Executive Director Denise James said. "He was really in need. He was a single dad. He had quite a history, and just really was working hard. He worked two jobs and he had these boys he was raising. His sister was helping him."

James said Sanchez is "the prime example of who we would like to select for homeowners." Now, he spends his time giving back to the organization that helped him get back on his feet.

"He comes back and he speaks in our behalf and helps us with fundraising events," James said. "A lot of times, they come back and help us with events that we're doing, but this is one of the first times that we've had one actually sponsored event for us."

With a Taco Tuesday fundraiser, Sanchez is donating all of the proceeds to the organization through what he knows best – food.

"Amazing tacos... Mexican-style like street tacos," Sanchez said. "We’re going to have like Carne Asada, pork, chicken."

The fundraiser is Tuesday night from 4 P.M. to 8 P.M. at the restaurant located off Court Street. Their goal was to sell 3,000 tacos. The nonprofit's staff and board members worked as servers for the fundraiser.

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