Sharing The Wealth

Lillie Romano and husband Romano CBS

Thanksgiving is about sharing. And wouldn't it be nice if that sense of sharing went on every day? For two people, it does.

Every day in 43 states, the restaurants he created -- like Fuddruckers and Macaroni Grill -- serve an estimated 200,000 customers. Those restaurants have built him a Dallas mansion and made him a mega-millionaire.

But, as CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara reports, the life that 62 year old Phil Romano and his wife Lillie have, is made even richer -- on the poor side of town.

For two years now the Romano's soup-kitchen-on-wheels -- called "Hunger Busters" -- has fed thousands of the homeless.

"They know we're gonna be there. They're waiting for us," Phil Romano said.

They take soup from one Romano restaurant and sandwiches from another and go to the back streets of the city two nights a week delivering a little bit of nourishment and hope.

"I guess I wouldn't eat nothing if it weren't for them," said a woman who gave her name as Shirley.

Lillie Romano says people were skeptical of them at first -- free food and clothes and no questions asked.

"They didn't trust us. They thought we were expecting something in return, whether it was a sermon or take them to an AA meeting," she told McNamara.

"If they wanna change they'll change, we just want to keep 'em alive until that time comes for 'em," added her husband.

"I think this man sets a hell of an example of really contributing back," said one customer.

"Hunger Busters" doesn't run on government aid, because Phil Romano says, this is the patriotic thing to do.

"Why do we have to depend on the government doing everything for us?" he said. "This is our community not the government's community. This is ours. We should be doing this."

The Romanos know the same faces, the same frustrations at each of their four food stops. But the payoff is knowing the same souls are still surviving.

For more information, write to Casey Coda at Hunger Busters:
1925 Cedar Springs Rd.
Suite 101
Dallas, Texas, 75201
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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