Why I give back: Trinity Café

One of PAR’s core values is to give back to the community, and our dedicated staff provide time and resources to a variety of causes. This blog is the first in a series about what drew our staff members to become involved with various charities. Today’s blog focuses on Jim Eddy’s relationship with Trinity Café.

When he was in high school, PAR Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer Jim Eddy’s mother left for good. Soon after, his father decided to leave town. He told Jim he had minutes to move out. Suddenly, Jim found himself without a home.

The youngest of five children, he needed to find a way to support himself, so he walked into First Florida Bank in Fort Myers looking for work.

“Gotta eat; need a job,” he told them. They walked him into the computer room—which no one in the bank wanted to learn. He didn’t know how to operate a computer, either, he told them. A woman pointed to some manuals nearby and told him, “That’s what the big books are for. You better start reading.” That was the day Jim started on his career path in computers.

About six years ago, Jim, who came to PAR in 2013, learned about Trinity Café. A program of Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Cafe is a free full-service restaurant for those in need. Seven days a week, guests take part in a restaurant-style experience, complete with a three-course meal. Volunteers serve, act as hosts, and bus tables. Trinity Café’s message resonated with Jim, and he organized a group of volunteers from PAR—known for its commitment to community—to serve. Today, Jim spearheads a group from PAR to make the trip to Trinity Café three times each year.

“You do a lot of things and often never see the outcome,” Jim said. “At Trinity Café, you serve and you see the outcome as you do it. It’s not abstract.” Jim believes that many other PAR staff members continue to volunteer at each opportunity because they can see how their work helps someone in an immediate way.

“My career has been fast-paced and I’ve raised a family with my wife Shari,” said Jim, who sees his involvement with Trinity Café as one way to integrate his strong Christian faith into the workplace, “but it limited my time to help others. It bothered me that I wasn’t able to do more. If you aren’t helping others, then faith is meaningless. PAR makes it easy to help others.”