Dietetic Intern: Alexis Zafereo


Dietetic Intern: Alexis Zafereo

Hi! My name is Alexis Zafereo, and I am a dietetic intern at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). For my community rotation, I had the pleasure of completing my hours at the Galveston County Food Bank for a total of 5 weeks in October of 2023 – December 2023. Throughout my time at the food bank, I have been given the opportunity to educate the community through numerous projects, creating pamphlets, vendors, partnering with other organizations, and so much more. Being part of the nutrition team has been such an eye-opening experience that has taught me so much and more.                                                                            

My first week at GCFB was the last week of October, so I was in for a treat. The nutrition department was preparing for the food bank’s haunted warehouse event that was scheduled that coming weekend to help raise money for the organization. Everyone at the food bank played a vital role in the success of the haunted warehouse, and the nutrition team was going to be selling food to an estimated 300 people.

Simultaneously, the food bank was creating partnerships with St. Vincents, Mom’s Farm to Table, and Farmacy to help promote the use of Snap benefit and spread awareness of the food insecurity taking place in Galveston, TX. During travel time the team would be searching for opportunities to advertise the food bank as a resource and to help spread awareness.

In the second week, I was able to get a first look into one of the healthy corner store projects that GCFB has been working on. The purpose was to provide access to fresh produce to communities that live in a food desert. The team connected with the store owner and helped set up areas where produce could be marketed and sold. When I went, I was able to inspect and look for areas for improvement. Later this week we visited Seeding Texas and assisted the staff in replanting their produce and weeding out the plants that were no longer in season.

In the third week, we provided an educational Diabetes handout during the food bank’s mobile distribution in Hitchcock TX. This handout was to help individuals with Diabetes manage their blood glucose levels. This was a neat experience because we got to reach and educate so many more people than I expected, and since they were just waiting in line in their cars, we were able to get to their attention a little bit longer. Some even ask for extra copies for a relative at home. It was a great opportunity to do multiple things at once for the community.

For my fourth week, the nutrition team and I prepared for the Moody Mansion International Day Fair. We purchased food and utensils for the event, cooked in bulk, printed recipe cards, and had separate sections that taught children how to clean their produce while handing out some education to their guardians.

Finally, during my final week I was able to attend a class at The Huntington, senior center, where the nutrition department provided “Eat Healthy, Be Active” education and held a cooking demo. During this visit, I was able to do the cooking demo for the class. This was a great opportunity for me to witness since during my time here I was able to contribute more behind the scenes by preparing, measuring out, printing packets, and creating material needed for the class. Now I was able to see it all fall through and come together.

Working with the community was extremely rewarding and brought me a lot of joy. It was nice to see that there was a high impact the role of nutrition had on the community setting and the impact that can be made through educating the community. The majority of those that we gave information were very receptive to the material we were giving out, and it was great to see people value their health status. The food bank gave me an area to be creative with nutrition and a great support system. It was an amazing experience that I hope to join again someday.