SAN ANTONIO – As 88-year-old Pauline Holman leans on her walker to make her way into a restaurant for lunch, she’s all smiles. She knows that for the next few hours, her companion, Belinda Grace Torres, will treat her like a queen.
“She is right next to my daughter,” Holman said, referring to Torres. “She is the world to me.”
After dining, they’ll browse the dollar store, maybe run an errand and chat up a storm. Holman calls Torres a blessing. Turns out, Torres is in the business of blessing others.
“The reward is tremendous,” Torres said. “You can’t put a price on the smiles that you get from the families and the clients.”
Torres’ small business is called Senior Blessings, a sort of Christian-based concierge.
“We take them shopping. We take them to appointments. We help them around the house,” Torres said. “We cook for them. We help them groom.”
They help with whatever is needed, as long as it’s not medical, stepping in when family cannot. What Torres and her staff offer is compassion, companionship and a chance to get out of the house.
Torres has seven employees, who she calls care angels. She’s hoping to hire more and expand to meet growing community needs. Torres is one of 10 entrepreneurs chosen for a pilot program between the Maestro Entrepreneur Center and the City. There, she’s learning the ropes of running and growing a successful small business.
Torres said she got the idea for her business when working in marketing at an assisted living center. Families would come in but say their loved one wasn’t quite ready for that level of care.
After much prayer, Torres said she launched the concept for Senior Blessings nearly a decade ago. The seed, though, was planted during her childhood by her parents.
“My mother and father said, ‘Go, help this neighbor, they don’t have a car. Go help this lady or this gentleman cut the grass, pick up the newspaper,’” Torres said. “We were instilled to be servants.”
Now, she’s made helping the elderly or anyone with a special need her life’s work.
“I just ask the Lord, ‘Lead me to whoever we’re supposed to care for,’” Torres said. “And we just shine a light.”