FHM: More Than Just A Library!
By: Romelyn Grace O. Borbe
With the birth of the millennials, it’s getting rare to see young people engrossed in books lavishly enjoying and touching its subtle pages. Books may somehow lose its value to digitalization, but we can never discredit its worth. It has the greatest power to change lives and to allow us to dream and grow. For the bibliophile, housing your most treasured possessions is a great accomplishment. Personally as an avid reader it is a great joy to know a library that transcended its function. A Library that feeds not only the mind, but also nourishes the body and the soul.
Feed hungry minds Library Inc. (FHM) speaks for the name itself, but theres more to it than meets the eye. FHM is founded in 2010 as a non-profit organization that aims to empower the underprivileged youth through Education, Nutrition, Values Formation and Spiritual growth. It’s vision is to eradicate ignorance by providing the underprivileged with a proper education and tools.
This sincere advocacy has inspired the lives of many, and as the year progresses it has grown to be a multifaceted organization.
Behind the organizational success of FHM is the lead vocalist of Arpie and the Multivitamins Band, and an intellectual comedian Rafael “Arpie” Patriarca. Their musical group has been performing for two decades now both local and abroad as a musical comedy band with a very wide range of musical genres.
Before Arpie was introduced and made his way to the world of entertainment his humble beginnings is rooted in Palapas Pioduran, Albay, he came from a family of farmers.
The seventh of the ten siblings, he admitted that he was a book lover at a young age. In fact reading has become his exercise.
Right after graduating from Marcial O. Ranola Memorial school, he was asked by his father to pursue his college education in Bicol due to luck of funds. However he insisted to attend college in Manila with a very minimal support from his parents, Arpie made his way to college years as a working student. With his mindset that education doesn’t end in college he continuously enrolled for different training and courses. He is a graduate of Clinical and Industrial Psychology, Fashion Design and Merchandising, Clothing Technology and eventually ventured in Japan As an exchange student. While in Japan, he shifted his career to entertainment. His work in the entertainment has paved way to establish linkages with different companies, connections and people that FHM has greatly benefited.
Arpie narrated that he dreamed FHM to be an inspiration to people to persevere and work hard and pay back. He revealed that with his remarkable skills, dedication, talents, generosity and wit is what made the foundation strong and successful.
HOW FHM CAME TO BE
Arpie shared that Feed Hungry Minds Library Inc. Is an extension of his passion for books. His friends have discouraged him from putting up a library because books would be obsolete. “But I believe, the older the books the more it gets interesting,” Arpie countred. It never hampered from sharing his love for books and joy of learning. For him he owes everything to the books he has read. The way he thinks and do all come from book.
He was tireless in acquiring and encouraging his friends to donate books from g
the start, and when he can no longer accommodate all his collections he converted his garage into a library. With every performances of Arpie and his band, he saves portions of his tips and his talent fees to make the library a reality. Through Arpie‘s unwavering dedication the library was indeed realized and its services are expanding. “When I introduced the library to the children, i have to literally bribed the kids with snacks so that they will come and enjoy the books in the library until it became a habit,” he recounted, “and then i started to adopt poor student as scholars.” From the initial number of thirty pupils, we have now over a hundred scholars attending in Guinobatan, Ligao, Jovellar Albay. FHM provides scholarships through enrollment assistance, school fees and school supplies and uniforms. Scholars are free to utilize computers and books in the Library.
Aside from the significance of education, FHM inculcate in the minds of the scholars the cycle of giving and sharing. The scholars tutors the younger students in the library every weekend as a way of giving back to the organization. Each scholar is given a special coin bank where they can save money. Once it’s full they will share it to the ofher needy student. Indeed a beautiful way of paying it forward.
“Though its quite impossible to feed a hungry mind if your stomach is empty,” Arpie related. Thus his notion has given birth to programs such as Feed Hungry Stomach.
This program aims to:
provide foods to under nourished children and typhoon victims. Aside from that there is also a program called Feed Hungry Soul which aims to provide livelihood training programs and seminars for women empowerment. This program teaches non working mothers basic massage therapy, basic dress making, basic baking to name a few.
MORE HAS BEEN DONE
FHM doesn’t only serve the Bikolanos but it has reached different places across the country. They have actively shared their time, efforts and money and untiringly ties up with fellow non-government organizations to help different beneficiaries. Their humanitarian missions includes fundraising concerts for the earthquake victims, fire and typhoon victims, feeding programs, toiletries campaign, song for a school bag, school supplies drive, fun run for the underwear project, adopt a coin bank, adopt a student, adopt a school program, donate a book project, feed and read along program together with guest foreign and guest celebrities as story tellers and volunteers.
FHM source and fundings:
To sustain the programs and activities of Feed Hungry Minds Library Inc., Arpie and his band would untiringly solicit from fans, friends and different stakeholders, individual and organizations anything that could change lives and uplifting a dying spirit. Amazingly by the year 2015, FHM was recognized by a leading outsourcing service provider TELUS International Philippines (TIP). FHM received $10,000 grant and it became the shared vision of TIP and FHM to construct a two storey building which is now the home to a livelihood and capability building program for the non working mothers in the community.
The pursuit of Feed Hungry Minds is a never ending and challenging mission. But despite some difficulties and sacrifices, Arpie and the FHM organization and its growing volunteers will always be there to share their precious time and resources in the service to feed the hungry minds, the soul and the stomach all for GOD’s glory!!!