The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Why giving back is important

AZUL SORDO
photo editor

Azul Sordo/The Collegian
Alisha Perez, James Pierce and the Las Vegas Trail Revitalization volunteers organize the take-home bags. All
staff and volunteers are masked and gloved at all times for safety guidelines.

closes its food pantries campus-wide, these local volunteers are rising to the occasion.

The Las Vegas Trail Revitalization Project, known as LVT Rise, continues to provide community outreach services despite the pandemic restricting indoor operations. Their food pantry now oper- ates entirely outdoors, offering residents in-person or curbside pickup with the help of staff and volunteers.

Over 2.5 million Texas households reported either sometimes or often not having enough food to eat the week of Nov. 11, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. LVT Rise has nearly tripled the amount of people they service since the initial shutdowns in March, program di- rector Ashley Mortimer said.

“We are also a small team, so we had to manage the increased need for ser- vices with little staff and volunteer support,” executive director Willie Rankin said. “When starting a company, you’ll be expected to fly a plane while still building it.”

For LVT Rise employee Alisha Perez, her service is about taking part in a community that came to her aid during a difficult time.

After moving to Texas from Hawaii with her two children, Perez said she found herself in need of assistance— it was then that she found LVT Rise.

“I came here broke, with nothing,” Perez said. “Now I can volunteer at all the places that blessed me.”

It was the difference between simply receiving food and receiving meaningful help, Perez said, that inspired her to join LVT Rise.

During the first wave of COVID- 19, Perez said she was shocked to see an 86-year-old woman standing in line at LVT’s mobile pantry. When Perez asked her why she’d left her home, the woman stated she simply needed food.

Perez now personally provides home delivery for 23 seniors.

“I was that person in line, needing help, now I’ll be that person giving help,” Perez said. “And as long as they allow me to deliver, I’m gonna deliver.”

Weatherford college student James Pierce began his volunteer work with LVT Rise in March, following the shut- down of many food pantries across the nation.

“It was really humbling, coming here during the pandemic,” Pierce said. “I’m just inspired by what community can do during such a hard trial.”

As Weatherford College transitions to a combination of online and socially distanced in-person classes, Pierce finds a sense of community among the other volunteers.

“Socially it’s been really challenging, not having that same experience as a college student,” said Pierce. “But at the same time, the o focus on right now.”

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