Category Archives: Non-Profit

Salvation Army Rings In Holiday Cheer & Help

The iconic red kettles of the Salvation Army and their greeters ringing Christmas bells by store entrances will continue through the challenges of an eventful 2020 – with added precautions. The kettles will be frequently wiped down with disinfectant to keep them clean. The volunteers will also be trained to keep themselves and others safe. Both the Christmas cheer and services of the Salvation Army will continue, no matter the…

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Project COVID Care Helps Elderly & Disabled

Johnny Llanes and Drea Labanzat make a delivery to a resident in need. (Courtesy)

Violet Metz became concerned in March as grocery store lines grew and local governments issued shelter-in-place orders. “At my age, security is such a huge concern,” said Metz, 81, a McAllen resident. “If I really need something, will I be able to get it?” It was an extraordinary period of time in March going into April as the COVID-19 pandemic set in. The general panic being felt in the community-at-large…

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Doors Now Open for Janet Oliva Cortez

VIDA: Janet Oliva Cortez

The team at Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement knows all too well about doors closing in keeping underemployed and unemployed people in the Rio Grande Valley from career advancement and higher pay. Janet Oliva Cortez knows about those challenges. Cortez works for the Weslaco Independent School District as a data entry clerk. It’s a good employer, secure job, and a decent salary. Cortez knew, however, that without a degree,…

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All Part of the Plan

Indeera Mohammed, McAllen AFT organizer, and Sylvia Tanguma, McAllen AFT president, present a check for $3,000 to Stuart I. R. Haniff, chief executive officer for the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, and his executive assistant, Gabriela Parra, on behalf of the members of the Central Labor Council, McAllen AFT and the Texas AFL-CIO. (VBR)

“Be prepared, not scared. Be proactive, not reactive.” ~ Stuart I.R. Haniff. When your mission is to fight hunger and to feed hope, countless people in your community are relying on you to be prepared. Stuart I. R. Haniff, the chief executive officer of the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley Inc., took that mission to heart in preparing his organization’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Haniff and his…

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Food Bank of the RGV Receives $20K Donation

Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, HCA Healthcare Foundation

The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley is the recipient of $20,000 in grants from the HCA Healthcare Foundation. The food bank will use the funds in its Coronavirus Resource Readiness and Response Campaign. HCA Healthcare Foundation is a a tax exempt trust and the philanthropic arm of HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers. Locally, Valley Regional Medical Center and Rio Grande Regional Hospital are affiliates…

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Survey on Reopening Economy Looks to Businesses

open sign

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is collecting information from businesses regarding reopening the economy. The online survey is gauging what business owners and representatives of non-profit organizations in the region are willing to do in order to reopen business. The survey is primarily designed for small to medium-sized businesses. This includes franchise operations and local branches or stores of larger companies. Larger companies may still provide responses. Individual responses will…

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Mentoring and Accountability Make All the Difference

Erika Elizondo

Single mom Erika Elizondo was working as a front-desk receptionist less than two years ago at a resort on South Padre Island. She was earning $9.30 an hour when a friend told her about Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement.  “I was always interested in the medical field to help relieve people’s suffering,” Elizondo said. “I chose Emergency Medical Science because of the fast pace, I love the adrenaline rush.”  There…

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Changing Generations, Changing Lives

Jacob Zuniga and his family

Jacob Zuniga lives in McAllen. He was working part-time at H-E-B, knowing he had to graduate from college to reach his goal of becoming a radiology technician. Yet, he was unable to attend school full time because he also needed to provide for his family. His path to graduation had countless stumbling blocks. Zuniga knew about Valley Initiative for Development because his mom is a VIDA graduate who became a…

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Mere Coincidence or Serendipitous?

Maria Herrera, an RN at Edinburg Regional Medical Center, with Tony Aguirre after their serendipitous meeting.

For a week in early February, McAllen businessman and City of McAllen Public Utilities Vice Chairman Tony Aguirre spent countless hours at Edinburg Regional Medical Center where his mom was a patient. He watched TV with her and sang conjunto songs playing on his phone’s Pandora app with her. He monitored her vitals while she slept and had conversations with all of the medical professionals treating her. One of the…

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VIDA Nurse’s Budding Career Path

Aime Bautista, who graduated from South Texas College in Dec. 2019 with an associate’s degree in nursing, holds a candle at STC’s ceremony recognizing new nurses. The candle, when lit, is symbolic of a nurse passing on the flame of hope, service, compassion and peace.

Aime Bautista was a single mother of an 8-year-old daughter, working as a sales associate and earning $8.25 per hour. A lifelong resident of Mercedes who was raised by her grandparents, Bautista and her daughter were living with her grandmother.   In the summer of 2019, Bautista gave birth to another daughter and no longer had a job. A student in the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement told Bautista about…

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