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As a Houston-Galveston Schweitzer Fellow, University of Texas Medical Branch student David Darrow is working to improve the health and well-being of underserved Galveston, Texas  residents via a community garden project — and tomorrow, October 15, that project kicks off in a big way with a three-pronged community event (click here to download a flyer).

“The core of the event is building a new community garden at a recreation center in the poorest neighborhood of Galveston — particularly relevant for this neighborhood because it is a food desert,” says Darrow.

“We have 60 volunteers and a few grants that have enabled us to build 45 beds total, but 21 tomorrow,” he says. “The garden will be dedicated to a local hero, Annie Mae Charles, by Mayor Joe Jaworski at noon, followed by a City proclamation. Charles is 98 years old and the first African-American policewoman in Galveston.”

Once the garden is established, Darrow hopes to  use it as the lynchpin of an interactive curriculum and training program on nutrition and health behaviors.

Tomorrow’s event, too, will go beyond the garden. It will include a health fair hosted by Frontera de Salud and St. Vincent’s House. “Frontera will be doing chronic disease screening (A1c, glucose, Total/HDL cholesterol), tobacco cessation resources, women’s health resources, and referrals to local social and medical services,” Darrow says.  “Then the rest of the health fair is a mixture of community partners.”

“The next component is a food fair,” Darrow says. “The Jesse Tree will be doing food distribution from the Houston Food Bank. Adjacent, we’ll have a local volunteer chef  demonstrating an easy but healthy recipe, highlighting principles of healthy cooking and using the herbs from the garden.  We’ll also have volunteers distributing fresh fruit and vegetables.”

EVENT DETAILS: Saturday, Oct. 15, 10 a.m. -3 p.m.; Wright Cuney Park and Rec Center, 718 41st St., Galveston, TX