Mission Beyond Music
Through Feed Hungry Minds and a host of other pet projects, singer-comedian Arpie Patriarca fulfills his dream of opening young minds to the wonders of books and learning.
By Vberni Regalado (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 18, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — He was a farmer’s son from Bicol whose penchant for reading was indescribable. But he came from a poor family who had to toil day and night just to make ends meet, and books were beyond his reach.
He was out reading a book one day, when someone approached him, perhaps amazed that unlike most kids, he was not wasting his time on child’s play. The stranger gave him an apple. It was the first time he had ever seen one, and he took it like a prized possession.
The simple gesture left a lasting impression on Arpie Patriarca, now a singer-comedian and leader of a band he formed 23 years ago. It inspired him and gave him hope, and he was certain that this was something he wanted to do for others.
When the band already had regular gigs after three years, he decided to get his bandmates into doing charity work such as feeding people in far-flung provinces, sharing stories of hope, and feeding hungry minds.
Patriarca believes that music is his passion, but helping others is his mission.
“I want to inculcate something to my bandmates – that we need to have a mission beyond music. I wanted to put a deeper meaning into what we do. Having this kind of musical skill, there must be something bigger. We did not ask for this, it was given to us, and we need to share it as well,” Patriarca said.
Every night that they perform, the band saves half of their tip and uses it to fund outreach activities.
Feed Hungry Minds Mobile Library
Singer-comedian Arpie Patriarca has also raised funds to realize his dream of a mobile library and kitchen rolled in one roving truck.
Five years ago, Patriarca decided to call his mission “Feed Hungry Minds,” or FHM, and its goal is pretty much straightforward: to promote love of learning.
It didn’t come easy. Feeding a hungry mind on an empty stomach meant nothing, so FHM branched out into two other components: Feed Hungry Stomachs, and Feed Hungry Souls.
Feed Hungry Stomachs aims to create projects that will help the group sustain their feeding programs. Recently, Patriarca opened a social enterprise called Balay Linino, which offers meals prepared by some of their scholars. All of the restaurant’s sales directly go to FHM’s feeding programs, which made eating more meaningful.
Feed Hungry Souls, on the other hand, offers livelihood programs for parents and young adults in the communities they adopted. They also conduct seminars to widen their knowledge and technical skills.
Apart from this, FHM, with the help of Patriarca’s bestfriend K Brosas, established Pedal Para sa Kinabukasan, a project that provides bicycles to children living far from their schools. Through Brosas’ winnings in a reality show, they were able to provide more than a hundred bicycles in Legazpi, Albay.
Patriarca has also raised funds to realize his dream of a mobile library and kitchen, rolled altogether in one roving truck.
“There is more work to do,” he admitted. “But as long as I can sing, and as long as many people support our mission, I know this will continue.”
For Patriarca, FHM’s road to changing lives might be difficult and sometimes his circumstances prevent him from doing more, but he believes that he’s leaving behind a trail that could lead to better things for young minds.
It is difficult, sure, but embarking on a mission is sacrifice. Arpie Patriarca and his band are ready for this.