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Human Interest

Real-Life Superhero Roxanne Cai Reveals How Her Mom Inspired Her Spirit of Giving

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Episode 8 of AMERICAN DOERS, a new 12-part video series featuring original thinkers, innovators, craftspeople, risk-takers and artisans across the United States.

Meet Roxanne Cai, inspired by her mother’s generosity, she dedicated her life to helping the homeless.

The San Francisco native is a founding member of “The Initiative,” a group of volunteers who dress up in superhero costumes to give food and clothes to the homeless and keep the streets clean of used drug needles.

For more American Doers, go to americandoers.people.com.

“She stood up for everybody,” Cai says of her mother. “She was the biggest influence on me. All she cared about was serving her community, serving people.”

“We never went a week without her bringing a basket of food to people who needed it,” she continues. “She was as close to an angel as you could get.”

Since the group began, they’ve removed 7,000 used needles from a homeless encampment located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

In addition to removing used needles, the group also provides food, bottled water and clothes to the homeless — and the members pay for supplies out of their own pockets.