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Eddie Costa says he knows about homelessness firsthand, having ended up on the streets as a teenager in Honolulu.

After living on the streets for a year, Tom Rudolph discovered
an unlikely source of free food — in a front of a plumbing
store.

Eddie Costa, owner of Moreno Valley Plumbing Supplies near
Sunnymead Boulevard and Indian Avenue, feeds the homeless between
noon and 2 p.m. every Friday.

This past Friday, Costa, 64, handed out dozens of free hot dogs,
chips and sodas to a steady trickle of homeless people, tenants and
customers of the Sundance Center where his business is located.

The giveaway started six weeks ago, after Costa, 64, grilled
franks on the premises for 20 suppliers who attended a seminar he
hosted.

“More homeless than plumbers” helped themselves to the grub, he
said.

Costa decided to make the grilling a regular event. Tom Jerele,
who manages the strip mall, OK’d the weekly frankfest.

“Ed has a good heart,” Jerele said. “It hasn’t caused any
problems.”

Jerele said he hadn’t checked whether the weekly feedings
required city or county permits or violated any rules. Both
agencies were closed Friday and officials couldn’t be reached for
comment.

So far, no officials have complained or tried to shut him down,
Costa said.

“If I need a license, I’ll get it,” he said. “I don’t want to
get into trouble.”

He doesn’t want to stop, because his heart is with the
homeless.

As a youth in Honolulu, Costa lived on the streets after his
parents divorced when he was 14 and abandoned him, he said. He quit
school, slept in the back of a furniture truck and hustled
surfboard rentals to make money. He married the first of his five
wives at 19, worked in a car wash/gas station and divorced a year
later.

He came to the mainland in 1966 to visit an aunt, and stayed on
to learn the plumbing trade, which has supported him for 41
years.

He spends about $80 a week at Food 4 Less to buy groceries for
his free feedings. He and his stepson, Jason Collins, 21, cook on a
gas grill on the patio outside the store, set back about 250 feet
from the street. If they run out of hot dogs, Costa picks up pizzas
at Marcello’s, a restaurant in the strip mall.

Tom Rudolph, 57, who has been on the streets a year, rolled up
Friday with a shopping cart filled with supplies and his two dogs,
Lady and Albert. Disabled with ulcerated feet from diabetes, he
lives behind a carpet store on Sunnymead Boulevard.

“Eddie’s been helpful,” he said.

Greg Riecke, 51, an out-of-work plumber, grabbed a couple of
franks as he chatted with Costa about jobs.

Costa will raffle five turkeys and five $10 gift cards for a
dollar store on Nov. 22. Those interested can pick up free tickets
Nov. 19 at Costa’s store, 24457 Sunnymead Blvd.

Reach Laurie Lucas at 951-368-9569 or llucas@pressenterprise.com



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