Honestly, I felt a little shame. It was hard waiting in line for an hour to get food. But within one or two times of visiting, I realized no one is here to judge.
Since he was a kid, Geo has loved sharing food. “I’ve always known one of my languages (of love) was giving food to others. If you met me in high school, I would have a case of cupcakes because I made too many and wanted to give them out.”
Geo grew up in Vallejo where his family struggled financially. “We lived in a house with a total of 13 people. There were times where we needed to go somewhere to get a little assistance. I didn’t fully understand it when I was a kid.”
While attending college, Geo had to also work full time to support himself, but it wasn’t enough. “That was when I thought, “I do need help. I need help financially. I need help getting the food I need.” So, he sought out help.
Through his professors, he learned about the college pantry. “It took a few announcements for me to even consider going there. Honestly, I felt a little shame. It was hard waiting in line for an hour to get food. But within one or two times of visiting, I realized no one is here to judge. Those people waiting in line that I was talking with are here for the exact same thing. Other classmates in my courses, they need the exact same type of help. And I got over that shame and ended up going there and getting food from there the entire two years I was at San Jose State.”
“It was such a relief to know; one, there is fresh food to eat in my pantry, and two, it gave me a stability in my mind that I didn’t have to sacrifice something else in my life just to know where my food is coming from.”
Geo is the Food Bank’s new Mobile Distribution Program Coordinator, and a big part of his job is to give out food.
“Whenever I put food in someone’s trunk, I always catch myself thanking them. We’re the ones giving food to them, but they are giving us the opportunity to help them… I like to think that out of all those hundreds of people, there are others that struggle with that shame that I once felt, and hopefully with these distributions, they feel that same sense of acceptance and same sense of comradery in the community to help others that are asking for help.”
Two months ago, Geo returned to Vallejo for his first food distribution in his new role. “After, I called my partner when I was still in the parking lot and told her, ‘Hey, I just finished serving a hundred families in Vallejo. This feels like a great job.’ She was so happy for me. She sees it, too, that this is one of my callings… Looking back on it, and my experiences in college, it made me realize there is no shame. There is no shame about using a service that is to help a community.”