“I’ve had my trials and tribulations,” he says. He’d always been in and out of kitchens: “It’s always been close to my heart.” But he struggled with addiction and ended up in jail. When he got out, his work experience wasn’t great, but a woman sitting next to him on the bus noticed the “shoddy little résumé in my hand.” She asked him if he was looking for a job; she was the head chef at the late Broadway Grill. “They took a chance on me,” Parr says. He ended up working there for five years, never missing a shift. “It was the first time I felt I could be a part of, not apart from,” he says. “Transformation is possible.” By the time he left, he was the kitchen manager.-Chef Will Parr
Individuals I encounter often say to me “It is evident that you always knew you wanted to help people. How did you know?” In response, I often share a quote I love by Pastor T.D. Jakes, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” The anecdote above takes me back to my childhood. I am passionate about ending childhood hunger, as I lived through it and I don’t wish it upon anyone. This is evident as my question to anyone I meet is always “What did you eat today?” and my work as gardener and “home ec teacher”. I introduce new amazing vegetables to middle schoolers and teach them how to grow food. I work with young adults in transitional living facilities and those aging out of foster care by providing individual and group therapy. However, somehow the conversation always turns to food. I want them to understand everybody needs a helping hand. So, they should never be afraid or embarrassed to sign up for welfare as long as they realize it is a stepping stone. I love talking to them about how they can stretch their SNAP for real nourishment versus the empty calories that are often found in junk food.
My work echoes Operation Sack Lunch (OSL) principle that “Everybody has the right to nutrition — that good, healthful food is not a privilege. A corollary tenet: that right should come “Without hearing other people’s dogma,” is a principal and a philosophy I can get behind. Yes, I believe in a higher power, but I don’t believe it needs to be verbalized. My faith should shine through in my actions and my work as a clinical social worker. Have you found your purpose? What are you passionate about?