By Jada Mier
Harris County, TX — Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s office hosted its second free COVID testing and food distribution event in Precinct 2 last week. Testing was conducted at Pep Mueller Community Center in north Houston on January 30th, and at Jim Fonteno Annex in east Harris County.
Cars began to line up as early as 8 am on Saturday morning at the Jim Fonteno Annex in east Harris County. Two lines were formed in two different parking lots. One for testing and the other for food. The Food Bank was there to distribute boxes of food to families in the community. Harris County Public Health was also at the site handing out PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and informing citizens of necessary cleaning procedures. People could choose if they wanted to get tested or not, but everyone leaves with a box of food, explained Tanya Kelly the site manager.
She said, “I try to encourage people to get tested, especially those who have children that are in school or even a part of the same household. We see so many deaths of family members who end up passing it on, and it happens a lot in the black and brown community.”
She went on to say that there is a fear of testing as well as the vaccine on everyone’s mind. “We know it’s coming, but there is going to be a shortage.”
The goal of the program was not only to bring convenient COVID-19 testing access, but also food to underserved communities and organizations. As part of the outreach, Garcia encouraged families living in multi-generational homes to come get tested together, as well as connecting with contractors who employ day workers or people paid in cash. Texas Department of Emergency Management, The Hispanic Contractors Association, Vendor LTS and the Food Bank all partnered to help serve the community in this time of need.