Dreamcatcher: Katie Lucas Aspiring to End Hunger

9:51 PM

 I am so excited to introduce you guys to my beautiful friend Katie. I met her towards the end of senior year and she was there for me when I was going through one of the roughest seasons of my life. She hadn't known me that well at that point but her heart of gold made me want to keep her in my life forever. Katie is my go-to adventure and foodie buddy and now she's off in Texas changing lives with her beautiful heart. She has great dreams and is super inspirational so I hope that you get the chance to connect with her tonight. 

Give me three fun facts about yourself!

I love food, probably more than anybody should. I love languages especially the weird parts of learning a language, and I co-manage a food instagram called peasandblessins.

What do you aspire to be / What are your dreams?

Large-scale, it would be to do something significant and meaningful towards ending hunger domestically. All of the jobs that I've worked have revolved around this. During college, I worked with a food assistance group that really helped me see that a lack of food can be a cyclical issues that families have to deal with. Parents are not intentionally keeping food from their kids but are just unable to put food on the table because of the systems and policies. I want to bring access to food to the marginalized in a way that will let them maintain their dignity and prevent it from being something that is just handed out for free. 

What was your lighbulb moment? 

My mother's a dietician and we've always had balanced portions of food on our plates. My mom started to volunteer and by accompanying her I started to see situations like the burden that was brought on to families because they couldn't access their food stamps due to system changes. In college I worked with a non-profit called TABLE that serves elementary school kids and learned that 1/3 of the kids in the area were on free and reduced lunch. Just seeing the reality of the numbers and the faces of the people who were going through this really helped me realize that I had access to things like healthy eating habits that others didn't necessarily. All of this made me want to pursue something in the area of food whether it be through volunteering, working, or giving food.

What would you say your college experience was like?

It kind of depends on the day you want me to specify. Some days it was magical and the best thing that I've ever experienced. Other days, I felt inadequate and defeated because many times it feels like you're around people who are much better at doing something than you are. I didn't like this because I'm pretty competitive but it taught me humility and the ability to learn to trust, lean, and rely on the Lord. But, it's where I got to form friendships with people that not only cared about me but cared about their relationship with the Lord. I went to a private Christian high-school that forced the laws and lessons of the Bible without emphasizing the relational aspects. My friends in college really helped to point me to the Lord and changed my life in this aspect. I think that Chapel Hill is the most magical place on earth and I really could not have picked a better place to be. 

What is a struggle you have gone through and what advice do you have for others who may be going through it?

When college was ending I was feeling pretty down, I felt very much like I didn't know what I was going to do. I had tried to plan my path after college in advance by recognizing that I didn't want a job and wanted to be part of a fellowship. The top two fellowships that I applied for, particularly the one that was food-related were perfect to me. I had felt like my essays were good and that this opportunity had been shaped for me. But I flat out didn't get it, I didn't even make it past the first round. This was during a time where a lot of things weren't going the way I thought they should. I saw that I really needed to trust God but I didn't want to. I found myself asking Him, "Why did you give me this passion if I wasn't going to end up doing it?" 

But, the community I'm in right now is the only faith-based fellowship I had applied for. It's something that I could not even have begun to realize that I needed. Coming out of high school I didn't want to learn any more head knowledge about God, i wanted more heart knowledge. But, through this fellowship, I'm in class learning theology and I've seen God reveal himself in his truths. All of my coworkers and my supervisors love the Lord and put Him first and to be in that kind of environment is something that I could have only hoped and prayed for. 

My advice would be that God really does has His purpose and His plans and no matter how good I think my plans are, they will never be as good as His. Trusting that is really difficult but I think that the Lord wants you to go to Him. My advice would be to really trust Him in that.

What is something you've learned that you wish you had known in earlier years?

The idea that resting and making time for it is not a cop-out or a weakness. I don't like to rest but I see the negative impact that it has on me, I don't do my work well, I'm irritable, and I don't have as much energy to do things. By resting even spiritually, it's something that has really brought me back to the Lord. I also have access to resources through the non-profit that I'm working with like how to use the CRM's, email marketing, and different processes and strategies that I know will help in my future job. I care about these resources because I want to try to utilize my access to those resources to really improve my skills for my future. 

What are you doing now to pursue your dreams?

There are times when I feel like I'm not doing enough to find something that's related to what I'm passionate about but then I always come back to "Every Good Endeavor" by Tim Keller. Reading that book really changed how I think about work. In the book, Keller talks about the order that God placed in the world and how things have a purpose, certain skills, and work a certain way for a reason. I've always been like 'this is what I'm good at' and 'this is what I'm passionate about' and those two things just can't go together. 

So now I'm trying to figure out what that looks like in a work environment. As a business major, I'm obviously interested in business and the intersection of that with my passion for food. I would hope to do something in the line of that in the future. I'm very curious and always trying to figure out the best way to do things and I hope that might one day look like having my own way to help reduce hunger. 

What do you do in your free time?

It's really different than in the past because I lived with 9 other girls so there was pretty much always someone to talk to and go to YOPO with. But now, I try to relax because I'm not really good at that. I also love to cook, exercise, and find different places to travel to. I love looking at parks and trails and even started running a little bit because of my boyfriend! I love visiting different places in Texas like Houston, San Antonio, etc and eating all the puffy tacos and queso. Houston has the most diversity than any other American city so we've had Afghan food, Vietnamese food, etc.  

Where are you working now and what does a typical day / week look like? 

I work with "For the City" network which began as the local missions arms for the Austins church and now operates separately as a non-profit. It focuses on serving the marginalized. For example, in Austin that's centered around east Austin which has the lowest income. There's one elementary school in this community in which 75% of the children don't have fathers. So we work with these types of communities. For the City is a network really trying to speak the Gospel and to make the church prominent in the city and a representation of Jesus on earth. This network has several ventures. The launch venture features sports mentoring (through baseball, volleyball, etc). There is also a large co-working space and then a verge network which consists of over 80,000 accounts all over the world. This network offers a lot of content about the gospel and making disciples. They offer a lot of conferences which I'll actually get to be a part of. 

At these conferences, I'll be with our 3rd division called "Restore Strategies" and this is a partnership between churches and non-profits. We're currently connected with over 130 non-profits in Austin and are starting to expand beyond Texas. During a typical day I work with email marketing, drafting e-mails that will hopefully get click rates, and I've spoken with non-profits and churches to ask them to partner with us. I also create invoices and monthly excel reports of volunteer involvement. My non-profit uses Sales Force which is the #1 Customer management software, so it's really cool to be able to learn how to use software systems like this through working with For the City.

Thanks Katie for making such an impact on me with your beautiful heart, I love you! 

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