(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Texas State Technical College’s Advocacy and Resource Center works with students to provide assistance with nonacademic barriers, whether they be related to child care, transportation or food insecurity.
In doing so, TSTC gives students the opportunity to gain a quality education and, later, a high-paying job.
With the Fort Bend County campus expanding, the ARC also looked to expand in order to accommodate the increase in students. Larissa Moreno, the ARC representative on campus, got to work looking for new partnerships and help to support her mission.
“I first got in touch with Lou Mancinas from The TSTC Foundation,” Moreno said. “We needed a solution that would be sustainable with the growth of our campus while also fitting within our budget. We decided to reach out to the Houston Food Bank, and, liking our commitment to the students, they ended up wanting to partner with us.”
The decision to partner with the food bank came in large part due to a study that Moreno and the ARC had done with a focus group. In it, they asked the students what some of their barriers to success were, and food insecurity was one of the more prevailing issues.
With the food bank’s help, the ARC will be able to order food and get it delivered to the food pantry on campus. Students will have access to a variety of food options, such as meats, veggies and fruits, nuts, noodles and rice.
The full partnership and expanded food pantry is set to open sometime in the spring. Until then, the Houston Food Bank will make monthly campus visits with its food trailer, where students can pick up whatever groceries they may need.
Tuesday, Dec. 5, was the food bank’s first visit to the campus. Jolene Norbert-Harrell, associate director of economic mobility for the food bank, was thrilled to partner with the ARC and TSTC.
“Our mission is to provide food for better lives,” Norbert-Harrell said. “In the case of students, it allows them to avoid trade-offs in their education so they can focus on their mission.”
Students who benefited from the food were grateful to both the ARC and the Houston Food Bank. They described feeling good about the food, about getting to feed their families and being able to choose the food that they prefer.
“Having the food bank come this month was very important to us,” Moreno said. “We wanted to make sure the students have enough food during break when the school and food bank are closed.”
Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is open. For more information, go to tstc.edu.