These teenage women worked and waited to help the poor, all for a good cause

Every day is frightening, the girls whispered in unison in a small dormitory at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, Calif. At their own prep school, “every day was scary,” they said.

At their jobs at Walmart, “every day is scary,” said Chelsea, 16, who recently graduated from Newport Harbor High, part of a group of two dozen teenagers who spend their days waiting in line to make food and selling toiletries to shoppers.

The girls, all attractive young women, have experienced the horror of joblessness, living on food stamps and cat food while studying at an Orange County private school and feeding and caring for each other.

They shared their stories in order to “get across the importance of showing compassion for their own community, their own customer base,” said Gary Sack, vice president of corporate relations for the global relief organization Operation HOPE, which began bringing them together for intensive one-on-one mentoring. He called the teens, all between 18 and 22, “a tremendous rock” for one another.

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