Daniel Castillo (right), a Building Construction Technology student, accepts a holiday meal kit from Robert Barrajas, a member of the TSTC Advocacy and Resource Center team at the Harlingen campus.

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – The Advocacy and Resource Center at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus recently held its third annual holiday meal drive so students can enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with their loved ones.

“Our goal is to provide support for our students because they deserve the opportunity to celebrate the holidays,” said Lisa Garza, TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource coordinator. “We provided a Thanksgiving meal kit for students to enjoy with their family or a Luby’s gift card for those who are unable to prepare the meal at home.”

The meal kits include bread, corn, cranberry sauce, green beans, macaroni and cheese, turkey, sweet tea and other items.

Garza said the holiday meal drive began in 2020.

“This Thanksgiving, we extended the invitation to our faculty and staff to help contribute,” she said. “They have generously donated canned goods, turkeys and Luby’s gift cards. Some also have volunteered their time to assist with preparing and distributing the meal kits to our students.”

Jena Campbell, TSTC’s interim statewide technology partner in academic core, said contributing to the holiday meal drive impacts student success outside of the classroom.

“TSTC’s Advocacy and Resource Center helps alleviate students’ worries, such as food insecurity and child care,” she said. “I have donated a turkey, stuffing and a bulk of the side items. I also assisted in the distribution of the meal kits to our students.”

David Campos, interim provost for TSTC’s Harlingen campus, said his office is honored to help students.

“We have donated two turkeys, canned goods and our team also helped distribute the holiday meal kits,” he said. “

Daniel Castillo, of Harlingen, who is studying for a certificate of completion in Building Construction – Craftsman, said he was humbled by the holiday offering.

“This meal kit is a blessing because I can invite my daughters for a Thanksgiving dinner,” he said. “This is my first semester at TSTC and the Advocacy and Resource Center has helped me out in many ways while I get an education.”

Mariah Patlan, of La Feria, is studying for an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management Technology. She chose to receive a gift card.

“I chose the Luby’s gift card because I wanted to give back to my family,” she said. “They helped me get started with my education at TSTC.”

Campos had a holiday message for all TSTC students.

“I would like to thank them for having a commitment to their studies, a pursuit of knowledge and the passion they bring to the classroom,” he said.

Registration for TSTC’s spring semester is currently underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.

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