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TMC students serve up their Saturday for a good cause

Students from various TMC schools participated in the TMC Student Affairs Council’s inaugural volunteering event at the Houston Food Bank

TMC students serve up their Saturday for a good cause

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More than 200 students from various universities volunteered their Saturday to join the Texas Medical Center Student Affairs Council at the Houston Food Bank’s Portwall location for the inaugural year of TMC Serves.

“The TMC Student Affairs Council has been running for several years, and one of the common points the students have always said they wanted to do more of was community service,” said Jacqueline Gilford, events and projects coordinator at TMC. “That’s how this event and this idea was born: out of the desire for these students to leverage the numbers we have across campus to really give back.”

Though the weather was gloomy and wet, the rain didn’t put a damper on the students’ sunny dispositions. With high energy and big smiles, the enthusiasm in the 308,000-square-foot warehouse was palpable as volunteers from surrounding colleges — including Prairie View A&M University, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Southern University — were ready to stand side-by-side with their classmates and colleagues from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. By the end of their shift, the students prepared 7,036 meals and sorted through more than 9,000 pounds of food.

“With the excitement we saw today in the room, the students saw there’s great synergy that can come together when they work together as a community. I think this is a really neat opportunity for them to do something together that represents TMC as a campus community outside of just their institution,” said Daniel Maxwell, University of Houston vice president of student affairs.

For many students, giving back to the community was an important and meaningful way for them to spend their weekend.

“Every once in a while we like to volunteer and give back to the community, so that’s what brought me here today to the Houston Food Bank,” said Anthony Obi Jr., who is part of the Texas Southern University Student National Medical Association’s Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. “It’s amazing just to see all the like-minded individuals take off time from their day and give back. That’s what it’s all about: us helping one another and helping those less fortunate. It’s breathtaking and amazing.”

“I see [the event] going astronomical. I think that with marketing and the students coming together, along with the Texas Medical Center staff and the colleges, I see this going above and beyond,” said Danielle Taylor, an M.B.A. student in health care administration at Texas Southern University and one of the Texas Medical Center Student Affairs Council representatives. “I think the students and the passion that they have for giving back is so genuine, and they want to do this. It’s a Saturday morning. They could have been anywhere else, but they chose to be here at TMCx, and I love it.”

Gilford said students will be able to look forward to more events like this in the future. For all of the many students who joined in Saturday’s event and for those who couldn’t make it, they’ll have the opportunity to participate in the volunteering event next year.

“[Giving back] is something we want to do year after year in different ways,” she said. “Next year, it could be at a nursing home. It could be however the students see best fit. This is not the last event and we’ll definitely be doing it next year.”

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