"I think back in my life and how many times St. Vincent's has helped me. Whether it was clothing my children, putting furniture in my house, or putting food on my table, St. Vincent's never asked anything of me. That's an incredibly valuable example that I still continue to live by." Young, who now lives in a small fishing town in Oregon, purchased the original Squeeze In location in Truckee in 2004, and grew the business into the four-location, multi-million dollar business it is today. Her daughter and co-owner, Shila, now operates the restaurants while Young and her husband, Gary, focus on their next big goal of franchising their business throughout the West Coast. Young is also currently touring and promoting her brand new book, titled From Rags to Restaurants: The Secret Recipe, which outlines her history as a business owner and how loving her restaurant and her customers helped her achieve success. While Young and her family are now financially comfortable, things weren't always easy for them. In fact, Young says she remembers standing in the monthly food lines at St. Vincent's in the late 1980's in order to pick up food commodities like butter, cheese and canned meat.
"We were so poor. Some of my daughter's first memories were of us standing in those lines. The concept of owning a restaurant wasn't even in my head at that time. I was just trying to serve my family," said Young. Now more than 25 years later, Young's restaurants are giving back to our St. Vincent's Programs by holding a food and hygiene drive in order to collect nonperishable goods and toiletry products for local people in need. During the month of August, all four locations of the Squeeze In offered free breakfast to guests who donated one of these items. "I make it part of my business to always give back to my community. St. Vincent's is what inspired me to do that." Young says her restaurants donate to about 350 local nonprofits and causes each year by giving free gift baskets, gift certificates, and auction items.
"People come to us daily and we never say no. It makes me very happy to be able to do this," she said. Young says she's amazed that while she once came to St. Vincent's for food and furniture out of necessity, she now comes to us in order to purchase fun, retro pieces to furnish her restaurants.
"I like the fact that the money I spend at St. Vincent's goes back to the community and serves a purpose," she said. Over the years, her restaurants have also donated leftover food to the St. Vincent's Dining Room. Her goal has always been to do even more. "It has always been my business goal to be able to give out a million dollars a year to charity. We're going to get there one day." While Young lovingly refers to her days of standing in food lines as the "Top Ramen days," she feels so grateful to have achieved business and personal success in her later life. But what sets her apart from other successful business owners is that she always remembers her history and where she came from. "I love what St. Vincent's is and what it does and how it serves people. I mean, really, it's just such a beautiful testament to human kindness." Squeeze In and Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada are hoping to turn this year's food and hygiene drive into a larger, annual event. For more information about Squeeze In, including their menu, hours and location, please visit www.squeezein.com. To learn more about the St. Vincent’s Programs, go to www.ccsnn.org.