UHV students volunteer at Victoria food bank

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Nov. 20, 2017 at 6:06 p.m.
Updated Nov. 21, 2017 at 6 a.m.

University of Houston-Victoria freshman Alex Alcocer, 19, and others fill and weigh bags of rice at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent on Wednesday. About 35 students volunteered  their time for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

University of Houston-Victoria freshman Alex Alcocer, 19, and others fill and weigh bags of rice at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent on Wednesday. About 35 students volunteered their time for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.   Evan Lewis for The Victoria Advocate

A Day At The Food Bank meant University of Houston-Victoria freshman Alejandro Valenzuela could give a helping hand to an organization he depended on during past hardships.

"It's helpful to give back," said Valenzuela, 19. "I've been in a situation where I needed it."

As he was growing up in Canada, his father lost his job in the oil field when Valenzuela was in elementary school and high school, he said.

"If you can help, help," he said. "When they get back on their feet, they'll offer their help too."

The university's Student Life and Services recognized National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week by volunteering Wednesday at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, where more than 30 students sorted and organized food and household items.

Other events throughout the week included making care packages and volunteering at Christ's Kitchen.

The Food Bank of the Golden Crescent stocks food pantries and soup kitchens in communities within an 11-county region.

The food bank provides food for JP's Market, a food pantry for university and Victoria College students, said Sara Weinstein, residence hall coordinator for Jaguar Suites.

The volunteer project is offered every year, Weinstein said, but she hopes to begin offering sessions throughout the year.

More volunteers and large groups mean extra help during the week, said Mary Lou Trevino, volunteer coordinator for the food bank.

"A lot of people with tender hearts want to donate ... We usually get 300 walk-ins donating food," Trevino said.

The desire to give increases during the holidays, she said. However, when more donations come in, the need for volunteers increases.

"We need that extra help to get ready for November and December - those months need that extra push of food," she said. "Christmas is coming, and people worry about having no food on the table and presents under the tree. It's important we get out as much food as we can."

Freshman Alex Alcocer, in a blue hairnet and green plastic gloves, dug a white scoop into a container of white rice and poured it into a zip-close bag.

Each grain of rice clinked against the metal scale to signal more weight.

Measuring out 1 pound precisely was difficult, the 19-year old said while closing the clear plastic bag.

"I want these to go to those who feel they don't have hope," Alcocer said. "Let them know someone is willing to help them."


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