Giorgio Fareira – Advocate, Food Insecurity
An odd prophecy come true. Many prayers answered. Hard work for something real.
I’m beginning a new chapter in the journey of my life. It feels like I’m stepping out of the fog that exists in my head when someone asks “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I’ve never been able to give a real answer to that question because I gave my life to God when I was 13 years old (which is right around the time when people start asking you that question) and from the start, God’s made it clear that He has very odd and amazing plans for my life as long as I trust Him to lead me. I think a way that He’s lead me to trust Him is by giving me clear answers as to what I’ll eventually do, but not giving me any clues as to how I’ll end up actually doing them.
One of the first things I did after promising my life to Christ was go to a church camp (as is customary for a lot of teenage American Christians) and at this camp, we were given a one page questionnaire meant to predict what kind of job/career we would end up in. It wasn’t specifically “Christian” jobs; some people were predicted to become doctors, educators, business people, accountants, etc. Mine said I would work in ministry. I figured there for sure had to be something wrong with the questionnaire. I hardly knew how to talk to people (I still have a bit of trouble), I’m not the kind of person to initiate conversations or relationships of any sort. I’m really quite introverted and get very exhausted if I’m around groups of people for too long. There’s no way I would end up working in ministry. It’s not that I didn’t want to, it just didn’t make any sense to me. So I brought my paper back to the leader of the group and told him my concerns and he assured me that my result was correct. I shrugged it off and went about the rest of the trip thinking the test was bogus (in typical American teenager fashion). It bothered me though. So many of my friends had results that made perfect sense to them and me so I thought maybe just mine was messed up. I approached one of the other leaders that I was a little closer to and explained the situation and he told me that I would without a doubt end up working in ministry. A trusted friend, an older guy, a spiritual mentor of mine told me that I would surely end up working in ministry and he said this to me with absolute confidence. I was baffled as to how this could be but after all that, I figured there had to be some truth to it.
Fast forward about seven years. I’m an independent young adult at 20 years old. I’ve been in and out of community college for the last two years trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and nothing interests me. Nothing except making music which I’d already sworn I wouldn’t do for a living because it’s too risky (yet another retrospectively hilarious irony). So I went to school for engineering because I love and am good at math. I got bored and switched to computer science because I love technology. I got bored again and took an indefinite hiatus from college. It was about this time that I started hoping and praying that I would have some sort of passion. I saw my friends struggle through college working towards things they’re genuinely passionate about and felt a bit envious. My prayers for passion weren’t being answered so I kept working dead end jobs to pay the bills and turned to drinking and partying to pass the time (another prototypical American move for someone in their early 20s). I did this for about two and a half years before God snuck up on me with a wake up call. He hadn’t directly answered my constant prayers for passion but he introduced me to so many horrifying truths about things happening around me and broke my heart for them. He taught me about food insecurity through an organization called Community Plates based in Connecticut (where I lived at the time). This was the answer to all those prayers though I was completely unaware of it at the time. I began to care deeply about the fact that literally millions of families here in our own United States are constantly unsure of where their next meal will come from (that’s food insecurity). Fortunately (surely purposely), God delivered this knowledge and passion through an organization that not only knew of a way to combat this issue, they were already doing it and I could very easily join them.
So in early 2012 (note to 5 years ago self: this is where you’ll be in 5 years…) I began volunteering with Community Plates to help fight food insecurity in Fairfield County, CT. I’d fill my station wagon with donated food and bring it to different food pantries and homeless shelters in my area. It was something I actually enjoyed doing and it was making a real impact on an issue I care deeply about. I’d unwittingly found my passion and started living it. In late 2013 I moved to Mississippi because I was miserable living in Connecticut. I’m a very warm-blooded person. I’d much rather sweat buckets than have to spend 10 minutes in cold weather. One of the first things I did, before I’d even locked down a job actually, was find out what kind of food ministry the local church I attended was doing and get involved. In early 2015 I moved to Birmingham, AL. At this point, it was my MO to ask any community I became involved in if they had a food ministry I could be a part of. It wasn’t until January of 2016 that I finally found one when I was introduced to and became a part of Grace Klein Community (GKC).
I immediately began volunteering with GKC’s monthly food deliveries that help feed over 230 food insecure families in Alabama. Over the summer, however, the ministry grew drastically. God was providing far more food than we could possibly save and give to those families so we started opening up a “market” where people can come get some of this donated food for free for their own families or people in their neighborhoods or wherever they feel led to serve. Now here we are in January 2017 and I find myself employed by GKC specifically to fight food insecurity. I’m living one of my deepest passions. It’s very hard work, it’s not very financially rewarding but it’ll pay the bills, and I couldn’t be more excited for what lies ahead.
It took 15 very interesting years, but here I am working in ministry just like I was told I would. God answered my years of prayers for a passion and gave me a place where I could live it out. I get to work hard for something that makes a real, tangible impact on people’s lives. I couldn’t possibly feel more like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be and doing exactly what I’m meant to do.