As seen in The Cape Cod Chronicle
BREWSTER – When Adrian Oomer learned about the issue of homelessness at school, he knew he wanted to do something about it.
"It made me sad, so I wanted to help," said eight-year-old Adrian, who will start third grade at Eddy Elementary School in the fall.
So he came up with an idea. With the help of his mom, Melissa, and dad, Irman, he started a restaurant.
"Loco Dos" has been running for eight weeks with a menu featuring items such as banana bread, flatbreads and pitas, meatballs and "Adrian's Famous Granola."
"The menu's weekly, so it changes every week," Adrian said. "Except for the famous granola."
The family worked to prepare menus that were distributed to friends, family members and neighbors, and orders were delivered to customers' homes. Adrian has also been selling Loco Dos T-shirts around town to further help his cause.
Last week, Adrian and his family donated $500 raised through the restaurant to the Homeless Prevention Council. The money will be put toward the nonprofit's annual Backpack to School program, which raises money to provide school supplies and backpacks for families in need at the start of the new school year.
"We were absolutely just touched," said Hadley Luddy, the council's CEO. "I think it kind of choked us all up. And it made us appreciate that for many people, philanthropy starts at a young age, and what a great example he is for that."
For the council, which helps provide rental assistance and other services for families in need on the Lower and Outer Cape, the numbers tell the story. The council's 2022 impact report says it assisted 2,360 individuals last year and helped 1,078 families stay in their homes.
Meanwhile the number of people served by the agency has grown 67 percent since 2019.
The $500 donation is Adrian's second to HPC. Last year, he donated his birthday and Christmas money, $117 in total, to the organization.
"It makes me feel really, really good," he said of being able to donate his money to a good cause."
Adrian was five when he started taking an interest in cooking. Irman said the summer spent working with his son in their kitchen has been "the greatest summer of my life."
"I thought it was a great learning experience for him, and it was a gift to me as a dad and Melissa as a mom to be able to participate with him in something that was so meaningful to him," he said. "I'm proud that we were able to do this together as a family."
Running Loco Dos has been a team effort for the Oomers. That included early morning runs to the grocery store and elsewhere for supplies, as well as time spent cooking and packaging meals for delivery. For Adrian, that sometimes meant passing on other types of summertime fun.
"It takes a lot of time," Irman said. "His cousins and friends will be at the beach on a Saturday, and he'll be in the kitchen cooking meatballs."
Running a restaurant is a lot of work, but when asked if he plans to start Loco Dos back up again next summer, Adrian didn't hesitate in his response. "Absolutely," he said.
In fact, he said he's already tinkering with potential changes to the menu.
"I was thinking we could do banana bread every week, since that's been such a big hit the last two weeks," he said.