PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Small business owners have been struggling the past few months but that's not stopping a Valley baker to make time to help others in need.
Salomae Schroeder is doing what she always wanted, baking sweets and making people smile.
"When most of my friends were out skipping rope, I was in the kitchen making things with my hands, always enjoyed playing with food," said Schroeder.
The owner of My Gal Sal's Bakery in Phoenix has made quite a name for herself as one of the top bakers in town, specializing in unique treats for people with allergies and other food issues. But the past few months have been tough as she's tried to run her business during the COVID-19 crisis.
"It's just so much uncertainty, and it's very stressful for us as small businesses because we are dependent on local support from people in the neighborhood, and a lot of people are feeling safer at home," said Schroeder.
The bakery has also been robbed several times. Yet despite the hardships, Schroeder still finds time to help the less fortunate. The kind-hearted baker is known for passing out baked goods and helping the homeless. In fact, former co-worker and current customer Jenny Tapia recently heard about Schroeder helping a homeless man and reconnecting him with his family.
"It just made me feel really good and I thought, if she's helping the homeless, I want to do something for her," said Tapia.
Tapia reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Schroeder and give her a $500 gift card. Our news camera was rolling when she showed up at the bakery to surprise Schroeder.
"You have been struggling with your robberies and all things you had to experience since you opened your beautiful shop here," said Tapia. "I just saw all the beautiful comments everybody made and all the things people were saying, how wonderful you were and are."
"I reached out to Channel 5 Pay It Forward and here is gift card on behalf of Channel 5 and myself," added Tapia.
"I'm so thankful for this but this is going back into my homeless fund to continue my mission and keep doing what I do," said Schroeder.