HOMEWOOD (KDKA) — The Homewood community has been through some really rough times.

People and businesses have been moving out for years. But a local businessman is doing his part to provide hope, and a little something else, to Homewood.

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Christmas is still a couple weeks away, and there is no snow in sight, but don’t tell the owners of a small business in Homewood.

“We’ve got Santa Claus outside giving out free toys to the kids. It’s just a very joyous occasion today and we give God the glory that we are able to come together and unite,” said Octavio Shipman, the owner of First Cousins Soul Food.

Shipman wants to make Sundays special.

“This is for God giving back to the community, yes sir,” he said. “Yes sir.”

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There are free chicken dinners, plus free donuts and hot drinks, too.

“We have a community where there’s a lot of businesses reaching out to the community, really trying to build, really trying to help out,” said Lou Pearson of Homewood, “and this is just another example of what we are doing in the community.”

The restaurant has only been open one month, but the owner says he understands that to be successful, owners need to know it’s not all about making money.

“It’s very important that we come together and do something positive because it’s all about the kids coming up today,” Shipman said. “We’ve already lived most of our lives, so let’s do it for the kids and not for us. You know, it’s time for us to sit back and watch our kids grow up. This is what we want to do — good role models for the kids.”

Santa took care of the kids too, and the Sunday soup kitchen on Frankstown Avenue will continue through December, from noon to 3 p.m. each afternoon.

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