Dozens of students and community members attended the weekly produce distribution at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday where they received parsley, avocados, tomatoes and more on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.
The event is in partnership with several organizations such as the Baptist Student Ministry and the Food Security Initiative the university has. The distribution first started in March when the COVID-19 pandemic started to hit the Rio Grande Valley.
“ The produce promotes health for the body but it also allows people to come and grab their produce very easily without having to enter a grocery store or touch anything, now that the virus is spreading,” Carmen Galvan, food procurement research assistant for the campus food security initiative, said.
“ Incorporating vegetables and fruits into your diet promotes a healthier lifestyle and that’s what we are trying to encourage for people not only on campus but throughout Brownsville; to live a healthier lifestyle.”
The event takes place every Friday at the same time on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campus and there are plans for it to continue until the end of the year. The produce comes from local farmers who have partnered with the Baptist Student Ministry.
“ We are going to be doing this for as long as possible, hopefully all throughout the fall semester and we are here until the produce is out,” Galvan said.
“ The more people that come, the more people who donate and the more opportunities we have to give out produce to the community. All donations are going to the Baptist Student Ministry because they are the ones getting the produce.”
Primavera Lopez Rivera, with the Baptist Student Ministry, said this event helps community members who are economically limited during this pandemic. She said the more people who attend and donate, the more produce the university gets to offer for the community.
“ This is very important because we are going through difficult times and a lot of times people don’t have enough resources and this helps them so they can pay what they can and get food,” she said.
Sabrina Hernandez, a UTRGV senior student who attended the distribution with her mom, said this is the first time she has attended but plans on continuing to do so because it’s not only convenient but also fresh and affordable. She said she plans to make several different dishes with the produce, including avocado toast.
“ I came because I know it’s fresh and also because it’s convenient here on campus,” she said. “I am planning on coming for upcoming weeks because I think it’s a good opportunity that the university offers for students and it’s a good deal.”