Category Archives: Giving Back

Student Food Pantry Feeds the Need

Social work major Jacquelyn Herrera, manager for the Student Food Pantry on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus, and Cristina Vega, program coordinator of the UTRGV Student Food Pantry, restock shelves in the pantry. At UTRGV, student food pantries on both the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses work year-round to help ease food insecurity for university students. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

September is Hunger Action Month, a time to take a pro-active part in ending hunger. For UTRGV’s Cristina Vega, helping others fight hunger is her job. “We have a lot of jokes in society, like, ‘Ha. Ha. Poor college student. You’re probably eating Ramen.’ And that’s not really something to joke about, because it’s a reality,” said Vega, program coordinator of the UTRGV Student Food Pantry. The Student Food Pantry is a free…

Read More

TSTC Funds Give Students Hope

Nelda Chavez recently received a boost her family needed to get back on their feet with the TSTC Foundation’s Snyder Helping Hands fun.

Fifteen inches of water took it all from Texas State Technical College student Nelda Chavez and her family. “The only way to describe the situation is devastating and overwhelming,” said the 52-year-old. “The image and smell of the mess and debris still haunts me.” The family returned to their home barely a week ago; the massive amount of rain and flooding that devastated their home occurred in June. Chavez’s family has…

Read More

Dining Out Supports Our Community

AMVETS completed their second Macaroni Grill fundraiser this past May. The money they raise with the Macaroni Grill fundraiser stays in the Valley. (Courtesy Dorance Cuba)

Three local businessmen have come together to give back to our community in a big way … $80,760 big! That is the amount of money two locally-grown businesses gave back to the community during the 2018-2019 school year.  Rick Guerra (CEO of Castle Hospitality), Russell Walker (general manager of Macaroni Grill), and Richard Guevara (general manager of Tony Roma’s) have worked together to create a program that allows both primarily…

Read More

Giving Back: McAllen Artist Mitch D’Arte

Mitch D'Arte with villagers from one of the remote communities in San Luis Potosi. (courtesy Mitch D'Arte)

The works of Mcallen artist Mitch D’Arte are very much inspired by the multi-colors and textures of Mexican art. Her paintings are very representative of the heavy local Mexican influence.  But D’Arte’s connection to Mexico goes deeper than the vibrant colors and culture found in her artwork. At least twice a year, D’Arte travels to San Luis Potosi, Mexico and into the very remote parts of the city to give…

Read More

Collaboration Improves Community Homes

Pastor Ricky Sanderford from First United Methodist Church McAllen blesses the family’s home at the completion of the service week. (VBR)

For 38 summers, youth from churches across the state have been visiting the Rio Grande Valley to participate in Mission Service Project. MSP is a week-long service opportunity where teenagers work with adult sponsors to improve a home for someone in need. This project began at the Mission United Methodist Church in 1981. It was inspired by a trip their group had attended in the Appalachian Mountains. They went on…

Read More

Giving Back: A Noble Donation

Noble’s Rene Capistran and Alfredo Garcia, in light blue shirts, prepare tacos for the participants at a children’s fishing tournament in Brownsville. Texas Noble Builders also served as sponsors for the event. (VBR)

When Noble Texas Builders unveiled its new headquarters in La Feria, scores of business leaders and elected officials showed up. Many wanted to check out the remodeled building that had been empty for a number of years. There were company employees brimming with enthusiasm. They now had one of the most modern office buildings in the Rio Grande Valley. In this small city of about 7,000 people, Texas Noble Builders…

Read More

Giving back: Rotary works to end polio  

End Polio Now funds vaccinations “A lot of people don’t know that we didn’t get rid of polio in America until 1979,” said Doyle Clark, accountant and Rotarian. Valley Rotary clubs are collaborating with each other and working with the global effort to entirely eradicate and end polio by 2020. In the 1950s, the Valley was hard hit by a deadly polio epidemic. Three children from one family died within a…

Read More

Giving Back: Habitat for Humanity 

Habitat for Humanity opened its second Valley ReStore in October in Harlingen.  “We wanted to strengthen our presence in Cameron County and provide low-cost building materials and home accessories,” said Wayne Lowry, regional executive director of the nonprofit. The McAllen ReStore, selling new and used home décor, furniture and building materials, has been netting enough to cover the cost of half a house a month, Lowry said.  “Our typical house…

Read More

Giving Back: VAMOS mentors

In 2013, VAMOS scholarships were given to 49 new graduates of Valley high schools.  The renewable awards cover all their unmet financial obligations at a four–year college or university. The scholarships are a critical element in improving educational opportunities for Hispanic students of Starr, Hidalgo and Cameron counties who rank in the top 25% of their class. Yet individual mentoring is a less visible but equally important mission of VAMOS,…

Read More

Giving Back: Businesses help put food on the table

“The Food Bank RGV couldn’t have the same impact without the generosity and support of local businesses,” said Terri Drefke, Food Bank RGV Chief Executive Officer.  “We are always looking forward to creating new partnerships in our mission to end hunger in South Texas.” Growing from an emergency food pantry started in Pharr in 1983, the Food Bank today has grown to the fifth largest food bank in Texas and…

Read More