(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Twenty Texas State Technical College students got a head start on the holidays with Thanksgiving meal kits distributed by the TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center.
“It makes your heart smile,” said Larissa Moreno, an Advocacy and Resource Center coach. “It’s really neat to give back to the students. One day we know they’ll pay it forward.”
The meal kits include a frozen turkey, a ham steak, rolls, stuffing, celery, potatoes, canned corn and green beans, chicken broth, gravy, soft drinks and several choices of pie for dessert.
Emmanuel Billings, an Electrical Lineworker Technology student, picked sweet potato pie. He was ready to take on a turkey for a Thanksgiving gathering planned with friends because he had successfully prepared Cornish hens in the past.
Set to graduate at the end of the semester, Billings has plenty to be thankful for this year.
“I’m thankful for a better way,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the school, and y’all helped me. Everybody around me is good support. It’s a blessing to be in Electrical Lineworker (Technology).”
This is the second year that the Advocacy and Resource Center has given out meal kits to selected students — though last year’s efforts were limited by the pandemic.
“I think COVID was just really tough on a lot of our students and our families,” Moreno said. “This year, to be here at this time and celebrate the holidays is a blessing for many people — especially those who went through so much chaos.”
The Advocacy and Resource Center’s mission is to help remove barriers to students’ education, which can come in the form of lack of transportation or child care — or food insecurity.
Funding for ingredients in the kits came from The TSTC Foundation, which also helps keep campus food pantries stocked.
“It can transform somebody’s life in the grand scheme of things,” John Kennedy, a TSTC Foundation field development officer, said of the impact of funds raised in support of TSTC students. “It can get a first-generation college student a job that their family never would have dreamed of. It’s all about the students.”
Gifts to the college can also contribute to smaller — but still integral — moments for students, like the Thanksgiving meal kits.
“It’s good, and it makes you feel good,” Kennedy said. “Even if somebody’s car is broken down, we’ll do the best we can to help that student succeed.”
Alejandro Lizarraga, an Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance student, looks forward to celebrating Thanksgiving with his loved ones — and all the fixings included in the meal kit.
“I’m thankful for my health and for my family,” he said.
Briana Mickle, a Welding Technology student, will not be able to travel to California for Thanksgiving like her family usually does. She has never cooked a turkey before, but this might be the year she tries — especially with a Food Network recipe called “The World’s Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey” tucked into the meal kit.
What is she thankful for this year?
“This school,” Mickle said.
Registration for the spring semester is underway. Learn more about TSTC at tstc.edu.