LSC-Kingwood Food Fairs offer free food for families
Despite having suffered facility damage due to Hurricane Harvey, Lone Star College-Kingwood continued offering free, healthy food to the community from a campus parking lot that was spared from the effects of flooding.
LSC-Kingwood has hosted a monthly Community Food Fair from that parking lot for the past few years during the fall and spring semesters. The Food Fair allows students and community members with limited means the opportunity receive free boxes of healthy food, like fresh produce and bread.
LSC-Kingwood is about to host the first Food Fair of the semester on Wednesday, Sept. 12. The fall semester Community Food Fairs will be held on the second Wednesday of each month through Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in LSC-Kingwood’s parking lot G.
“This was something that started by identifying issues affecting our student body population, and food insecurity is one of the issues,” said Jamie Turner, assistant professor of engineering and Food Fair co-coordinator.
After Harvey last year, the need for this service was big, Turner said, and she anticipates the need may persist into this semester as well.
“A lot of our students have been moving from house to house and a lot of people lost jobs,” Turner said. “There are people still in the recovery process from Harvey.”
People wishing to receive food remain in their cars, forming a line. Boxes of fresh food are given to each car down the line while supplies last.
LSC-Kingwood partners with Humble Area Assistance Ministries to make the Food Fairs possible. Event contributors give $380 a month for HAAM to purchase an entire semi-truck full of healthy foods from the Montgomery County Food Bank.
Volunteers unload the food, set-up the fair, and help distribute the food to cars. Providing free healthy food is one of the ways the LSC-Kingwood can help reduce stress for Harvey-affected individuals, according to Turner.
“Someone who has been through a traumatic event like Harvey experiences the ‘fight, flight, fear’-response and that’s not the learning part of your brain; that’s more the animal instinct part of your brain,” Turner said. “You have to get out of that stress mode before you’re going to incorporate new information, or think the way you have to think in college.”
Plus, she added, community college students often need financial and nutritional help even without being affected by an event like Harvey.
“Everybody who’s been through college remembers that it’s not the rich part of your life and Ramen Noodles doesn’t help your brain very much, so our emphasis is on fresh fruit and fresh vegetables and giving them a break from canned and dried food for a while,” Turner said. “It sends a message to all of our students that we care about them. We care about their lives and we’re about more than just textbooks. We’re an extra family and that’s the point of a community — to make them feel safe and cared-for here.”
For more information, or to sign-up to volunteer, visit www.lonestar.edu/community-food-fair.htm.