TSC, Walmart fight hunger for struggling students

Texas Southmost College and Walmart on Boca Chica Blvd. in Brownsville partnered once again to host a grab-n-go food distribution event to help students curb hunger during final exams and the holiday season.

The event, second of its kind for the college, is made possible through a $1,200 Walmart Community Grant awarded to the college.

“We are so excited to have received this grant for a second time and to be working with Walmart again,” said Abigail Folker, TSC AmeriCorps Volunteers in Services to America (VISTA) retention specialist. “Food insecurity is prevalent among college students across the nation. This event means a lot to us and our students.”

During the event, 200 bags of groceries filled with non-perishable canned foods, soups, fruits, vegetables, snack items and juices, were given to students.

For Erica Gonzalez, a General Studies student at TSC, this food means she will not have to worry where her and her family’s next meal will come from.

“It’s been a long four months since my dad lost his job,” said the Harlingen native. “In this moment we are struggling, and most times barely have enough money for food. We don’t always know where our next meal will come from.”

The 20-year-old, who often attends class on an empty stomach, added that she appreciates everything TSC does to help its students because it allows them to find the strength to keep going knowing that someone cares.

“This event was a great opportunity for all students. It doesn’t only help us, but also our families,” said Gonzalez. “Thank you to everyone who made it possible for me to help mine. The food has gone a long way and I’m so grateful.”

Folker said this grant came at just the right time – before finals and around the holidays.

She added that in a recent study done for TSC by The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University, more than 50% of TSC students worry about not having enough money to buy food so many of them skimp on meals or don’t eat at all.

Folker’s work at TSC is focused on alleviating the effects of poverty.

“We’re here to help students succeed and if that means providing food and meals, then that’s what we’re going to do,” she said. “I’m glad we’re building partnerships within our communities, like we have with Walmart, to help make this possible.”