OUR FOUNDER

Ed Perez

My experiences taught me that I had to plant the seed

  • I learned that obstacles in our way makes us stronger
  • I learned that life always gives us new and better opportunities
  • I learned that the biggest harvest, comes from sharing the best of you
  • I learned that the best reward comes from helping those who need it most
  • I learned that it is easier to overcome adversity if we are together
  • I learned that the best harvest comes from the heart.

When I was only twelve, my idyllic life came to an end. I witnessed the end of the Batista regime when Fidel Castro attacked my hometown, witnessing violence all around me.

When I was only twelve, my idyllic life came to an end. I witnessed the end of the Batista regime when Fidel Castro attacked my hometown, witnessing violence all around me.

 Soccer program in Cali. Colombia

I believe in harvesting love. I was born into a loving family, my parents were landowners who sowed the fertile soils of La Maya, Cuba growing sugar cane and coffee, which provided them with fruitful harvests that led to prosperity. When I was only twelve, my idyllic life came to an end. I witnessed the end of the Batista regime when Fidel Castro attacked my hometown, witnessing violence all around me. As I recalled La Maya was under siege for three days, you heard voices of people crying, and saw bodies destroyed. The earth trembled, bombs all around. I’ll never forget it, the worst feeling was that you couldn’t run, you couldn’t stop it, you just stood there and hoped a bomb didn’t drop on top of you. My father was later incarcerated, and my mother was abused. In despair, I feared my family wouldn’t survive to see the next morning, but God’s love prevailed.

My family almost lost hope of ever escaping Cuba, but sowing hope harvests love. In 1963 our lives changed, all because I was born in Trenton, NJ. That fact saved my life. The American Red Cross exchanged medical supplies for children who had been born in the US and their parents. I was born while my parents were visiting Trenton and I lived there until I was three months old. The US government granted my family asylum, and on February 19, 1963 we arrived in Miami with nothing but our clothes on our backs. And fortunately, the church gave my family hope, relocating us to Baltimore, MD. However, life turned out to be a struggle for survival for me, who neither spoke nor understood English. Losing hope, I endured a life of poverty in the slums of Baltimore.

I believe in the value of mentorship, it provided me hope and played an important role in my life. While in Middle School, a coach saw something more in me than just an angry youth. I remember my coach’s words: “He told me anger has positive and negative forces; it can be destructive or you can shepherd and guide it into things.” The coach steered me into soccer, track, and martial arts. The skills I gained from my commitment to excelling in sports provided me with a sense of accountability, a trait I deem important to my daily basis. I earned a degree in Business Administration, Economics, and Psychology in four years, while also working three jobs. This accomplishment validated my belief in the power of accountability. I secured a position with CSX where I worked for 42 years, holding various positions within the company.

Over the years, I cultivated hope to harvest love and in 2016, I founded Three Grains of Rice Missions. The parable of the sower whose seeds fall on good soil to reap a bountiful harvest epitomizes my work. I tell my own parable about three grains of rice: “There are 21,000 grains in a sack of rice. I’m asking that you give up 3 grains of rice consistently throughout your life.” Just as the grains of rice increase exponentially over a lifetime, sowing hope to harvest love also increases within us over a lifetime. I hope that others will sow their three grains of rice and join me in my mission to end homelessness, empower women and assist children in distress. I survived a life filled with these same hardships and desires to assist others just like I was assisted years before.

I believe in the value of mentorship, it provided me hope and played an important role in my life. While in Middle School, a coach saw something more in me than just an angry youth. I remember my coach's words: “He told me anger has positive and negative forces; it can be destructive or you can shepherd and guide it into things.” The coach steered me into soccer, track, and martial arts.

Soccer program in Cali. Colombia

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Debbie Bittner

Chair

A.J. Vaughn

Vice Chair

Mark Kuca, CPA

Treasurer

Greg Toloczko

Secretary

Jay Johnson

Director

Suzanne Egan

Director

Shannon Scott

Senior Director

ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

Jerry Mallot

Retired President JAXUSA

Damon Olinto

Division President and CEO Synovus Bank

News and Updates

COVID-19 UPDATE

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and well-being of so many of our brothers and sisters here at home as well as around the world. There is great concern about the economic and emotional impact that will stay with us for many months to come. While restrictions and stay at home orders were necessary to stop the spread of this virus, many of our neighbors are now facing financial burdens and are struggling to put food on the table.

FOOD DRIVE 2020

Everyone has felt the impact of COVID-19 in one way or another. For some, this impact was the loss of a job causing a financial hardship. For those that call the streets home, organizations and volunteers were not able to help with food and necessities as they did before the pandemic. As our city continues to “re-open” and we all adjust to a new way of life (or a new normal), Three Grains of Rice Missions is committed to helping those who are struggling.

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