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Fry's Food stores helping foster care kids find jobs

Posted at 7:23 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 21:24:35-05

It's about to be one of the busiest times for Feliz Gonzalez. Shoppers are getting everything they need to make their holiday feast.

With a hello and a big smile, this 18-year-old greets customer after customer at the Fry's Food store at 19th Avenue and Glendale. But behind that smile, there's a story the customer doesn't even realize. 

"It's like a vivid memory," Feliz said. "It was horrible," Feliz remembers the day the state removed her from her home.

"You have 30 minutes, and it was like a couple bags of clothes," she said. 

Feliz says her mother was a drug addict; her father was out of the picture. She was put into foster care, eventually into a group home.

It's there where she was introduced to the Keys to Success Program through Fry's Food stores. It's a program giving kids about to age out of foster care an opportunity to work.

"We're looking to help bridge that difference or that gap between getting out into career and life," said Nate Sadow with Fry's. 

Right now Fry's Food employs 20 foster youth in 16 stores. Most are working on the front lines as courtesy clerks, but once they turn 18-years-old, they can apply for management and work their way up in the company.

Fry's Food is the third largest employer in Arizona, and the goal is to give these kids a foundation and a chance to make it on their own.

For Feliz, she knows this job, and the Keys to Success program have kept her on the right path.

"I used to blame my mom for everything," Feliz said. "Eventually everybody is dealt a hand of cards. You just got to know how to play your cards right."