Timothy Farias is more than just a member of the men’s soccer team at Rutgers-Newark.
The Kearny native and junior forward is a key reserve for the Scarlet Raiders, who just completed a spectacular season, winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship for the very first time and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament last weekend.
“Timmy has been a big part of our program for three years,” said Rutgers-Newark head men’s soccer coach Kevin East. “He’s a guy who we count on for depth. He has a lot of speed. He’s one of our stronger players. He’s a guy who helps bridge the gap between our experienced players and our younger guys. He has a great attitude, both in training and in games. He’s just a good person to have in our program.”
Farias knew that changes had to be made before he began this season.
“Last year, I came in way too heavy,” Farias admitted. “I learned from my mistakes. I did a lot of running in the offseason to get ready. I worked on my body. Now, I feel strong. Running was the change. If you can’t run in soccer, then you can’t play. I also feel more experienced and that helps. I’m getting a lot of playing time. I feel like I’m playing well and the team is doing well. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
But Farias’ biggest contribution may very well be off the field.
Farias’ is the founding father of the Got U Covered Foundation, an organization that provides necessary goods for the homeless people on the streets of Newark.
Farias began his philanthropic efforts when he was a freshman.
“I would always see a lot of homelessness around campus,” said Farias, a former standout player at Kearny High. “I’d see it every day. In my heart, I wanted to do something to help them. So I decided to get a few of my friends together and we bought 50 drawstring bags and put things like gloves, hats, blankets, socks and hand warmers in the bags. It was cold out when we started, so we figured that would come of use.”
But Farias’ efforts didn’t stop there.
“We also bought tooth brushes, deodorant and then started collecting food,” Farias said. “We got chips, water bottles, Pop Tarts, other things. It took us a while to save up the money to buy all the things.”
Farias started a GoFundMe page to collect donations. He also got interested students to chip in to the cause.
“We made a video and put it on YouTube,” Farias said. “The response from the video was awesome. We were able to get more and more help. I wanted to be able to do something to help the homeless on a cold night.”
Farias’ group even started to put care packages together strictly for the female homeless people.
“I never even thought of it as first, but there are a lot of women who are homeless,” Farias said. “We had feminine hygiene products in some bags.”
So after they put together 50 care bags, Farias and his friends went onto the streets of Newark to distribute the bags.
“I remember the night we went out,” Farias said. “It was so cold that after it was over, I came back to my room and crawled under the covers to get warm. Then I realized that those people were still out there in the cold with nowhere to go. There’s only so much you can do.”
Farias’ incredible efforts do not just stop at the Newark border. Along with his father, who is of Brazilian descent, Farias went to the Amazon jungles of Brazil to help the homeless there.
“My father was born in the Amazon,” Farias said. “He saw the project I was doing with the homeless and asked me, ‘What if we did that in the Amazon in Brazil?’”
So Farias and his family collected 300 bags filled with school supplies for the needy in Brazil.
“It turned out to be an awesome event,” Farias said. “We gave them breakfast and lunch and then gave them the bags. We had more than 400 people there, so everyone couldn’t get a bag. I want to be able to do it again.”
Farias is currently collecting goods for another 50 bags to be distributed in Newark this winter.
“To be honest, I feel like I can do a lot more,” Farias said. “I drive around Newark now and see my bags, so I’m really happy about that. When I see the people’s faces after we give them the bag, then that’s a rewarding feeling. I feel like I actually get more out of it then they did, especially when it was cold out.”
East is amazed by his player’s care for the homeless.
“It’s amazing,” East said. “I didn’t even know about it. Timmy never even told me about it. I sort of stumbled onto it on YouTube. I saw it and clicked on it and saw the video that he made. I was extremely proud and impressed. For him to get involved in the community and help people like he has just speaks to the quality of person Timmy is. He’s a very humble person. He’s not doing it to get attention. He’s doing it because he wanted to help.”
East said that Farias has received calls from other charities who want to offer assistance.
“He’s not going to brag about what he has done,” East said. “He’s not doing it for accolades. It’s just something he wanted to do.”
Farias has also become a better soccer player since he arrived at Rutgers-Newark three years ago.
“He adds another dimension to his game,” East said. “He’s more direct going to goal, as opposed to slashing and cutting. He’s strong going to goal and it’s a nice option for us.”
Farias said that he had some offers from NCAA Division II schools, but decided to attend Rutgers-Newark.
“Once I came to school to visit and met Coach East, I figured it was for me,” Farias said. “It’s a good school. So far, it’s been great.”
Farias is majoring in psychology at Rutgers-Newark. He hopes to get into a school to study physical therapy.
Right now, there are other homeless people in need of Farias and the Got U Covered program.
“It’s funny,” Farias said. “When I was 11 years old, I was asked what my dream was. I said that I wanted to help homeless people. So it’s something that just grew inside my heart in college. I just had to find a way.”