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UST Nursing Students Serve at the Houston Food Bank

PSON Students at Food  BankEach year, University of St. Thomas Peavy School of Nursing students participate in a community health course that includes both didactic and clinical experience. For the past several years the nursing students’ community health clinicals have included placement within numerous City of Houston outreach ministries. However, this year all that has changed. Due to the restrictions imposed secondary to the COVID-19 pandemic, community health agencies have reduced services, placed volunteer opportunities on hold, and/or the agency is shuttered.

Community Health Students Clinical Placement

Dr. Michael Sullivan, Assistant Professor said, “Facing this new reality provided both a challenge and opportunity to secure clinical placement for our third year students. Where can one find a community health clinical location site in Houston to accommodate 50 PSON students, once a week, for nine weeks? Think!!!! The Houston Food Bank generously opened their doors and welcomed our community health students with the gift of serving others.”

Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank serves in excess of more than 1.1 million people in the 18 southeast Texas counties and provides programs and services aimed at helping families achieve long-term stability including nutrition education, job training, health management and help in securing state-funded assistance.

PSON students during clinical placement at the Houston Food Bank“Throughout the fall semester our students worked diligently to address food insecurities, food deserts and inadequate nutrition of our local Houstonians,” Sullivan said. “More than 500,000 men, women and children in Houston are considered food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough nutritious food to fuel a healthy life. To address this issue, our students sorted, boxed, and distributed food (in excess of 1 million lbs.) and other essentials to those in need through a network of 1,500 community partners. Engagement in community service calls us to a personal change that is essential to, and a sign of, change in the world,” he said.

Compassion through Volunteerism

Sullivan adds, “Throughout the years, participating in community service has challenged our students to be more compassionate people, always conscious of the poor, and dedicated to the promotion of justice in the service of faith. By serving at the HFB our students’ gleaned insight to the vast needs within our local community and through their service commitment have made a positive impact in countless lives!”