Stephanie Rojas

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Advocacy and Resource Center at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus recently provided either meal kits or restaurant gift cards for some students to help them have an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

“This is the second time our department has offered this,” said Lisa Garza, TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource coordinator. “We reached out to some students that we know who need it or were referred to us. They do not have the funds to afford a Thanksgiving meal or the resources available to prepare that meal. Those students had the option to pick up a holiday meal kit or a Luby’s restaurant gift card at our office.”

The meal kits included turkey, cornbread, vegetables, and pumpkin pie.

TSTC alumna Susie Sierra was one of the people whose donations made the meals possible.

“The college helped me with the assistance I needed for my education in the Building Construction Technology program,” she said. “It has always been a part of my heart to help others. I have a career now, and I was able to contribute $250.”

U.S. Navy veteran Antonio Hernandez, of Harlingen, is studying for a certificate of completion in Building Construction – Craftsman.

He was appreciative of the offer.

“It’s great to know what they have done for me and other students,” he said. “I’m looking forward to preparing this meal with my wife and celebrating Thanksgiving.”

Stephanie Rojas, of Brownsville, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology.

“I’m very grateful to receive this because I’m a single parent,” she said. “I’m not working because the Surgical Technology program is just like a full-time job. The Advocacy and Resource Center has previously helped me with books from the Lending Library and other items needed for my courses.”

Garza said this occasion is special because her department gets to help students beyond academics.

“This is a holiday family experience that we helped create because they wouldn’t have been able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal,” she said. “Whenever they come to us, they are grateful to receive something as simple as a meal. That impact makes a difference in their life.”

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