“We share and we educate”: Resilient Stockton mother of 5 gives back to community through health bar

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STOCKTON — A Stockton mother of five who has survived so much is feeding the mind, body and spirit of her community.

Lakeisha Little-Shaw showed us what’s on the menu at The SHAW Bar.

“What I’ve already put in it is coconut water, frozen pineapples. spinach, and what I’m getting ready to add now is our superfoods,” she said of a smoothie she was making.

SHAW stands for “sharing health and wellness.”

“Not too many people know how to be healthy, and so I wanted to be able to create a business to share that in the community,” Little-Shaw said.

Little-Shaw, who started the business out of her home more than a decade ago, chose her new location along the Stockton waterfront because it’s in an area that needs healthy food options for low-income or underserved communities.

“We share and we educate and make it affordable so they can become healthier in their health and wellness journey,” she said.

Top sellers at the business are prepared and proportioned meals. The space is designed to feed the body and the mind. Inside is a mental wellness corner with positive affirmations.

“So before you even have a conversation with me, you’re already feeling better about yourself,” Little-Shaw said.

The business is marketed throughout the community through donated meals and time to nonprofits like St. Mary’s Dining Room and Haven of Peace. The latter provides shelter to homeless mothers and their children. For Little-Shaw, this is personal.

“The one thing I hoped I would have had was someone share that story with me,” she said.

Little-Shaw said her childhood appeared normal. She was a classically trained musician with straight-As. But she had a secret.

“I was molested by my dad from the time I was seven,” she said.

She said she suffered unimaginable physical and emotional abuse from a mother who was a prostitute, on welfare and at times homeless. At 18, Little-Shaw ran away, eventually marrying someone and giving birth to five children, including two sets of twins. The oldest has lung disease.

“It’s very important for me to speak to the community, to speak to women that have experienced what I have experienced to let them know ‘You too can be somebody despite what you have been through,’ ” she said.

Little-Shaw has turned that passion into projects like a hiking trip with her nonprofit Shaw For Community that recently took hundreds of women and their families to Hidden Falls in Auburn.

“We provided the charter bus. The SHAW Bar provided the nutrition. We educated. We had mentors that were on the trail,” she said.

Little-Shaw is serving up not only a healthy lifestyle, but hope

“That if you take care of yourself, if you take the initiative and take time to go through your healing and to learn how to be better for you, that you can too have a life like I have created,” she said.

Little-Shaw will be speaking to Haven of Peace on November 12, and in January, she plans to open a fitness center next to The SHAW Bar on the Stockton waterfront to help people achieve their fitness goals.