Los Fresnos News

Census drives going on full throttle as clock keeps ticking to get counted


Census workers help area residents fill out this year’s forms. Photos: Tony Vindell / LFN

PORT ISABEL – Drive-thru drives to get people to complete the 2020 U.S. Census have been going at full throttle all over the Rio Grande Valley and the campaigns have been pushing the response rates up, which still are below the 2010 census.

People hired by the government agency, elected officials and volunteers have been helping out with the drives, some of which are announcing free barbecue plates to those filling the forms or showing they have done so already.

Recent drives were held in La Feria, Laguna Vista, Brownsville, Santa Rosa and San Benito.

Another drive recently took place in front of Port Isabel High School where a volunteer, Jimmy Manrrique, had a hard time trying to keep up with the chicken leg quarters he was cooking on a giant barbecue pit.

The event was announced to be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, but some people started showing up as early as 2 p.m.

From left, Cameron County Commissioner David Garza, Rene Capistran, County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez and Terri Caspistran help out at the recent census drive at Port Isabel High School.

Scores of people pulled over as the volunteers assisted them with filling the forms and were directed to get in line afterward to get two barbecue plates per household.

Terri Capistran, the Superintendent with the Point Isabel School District, said it’s important for people to get counted.

Los Fresnos resident Imelda Gracia-Munivez, who also helped out with the drive, echoed a similar remark.

Cameron County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez said the area was underrepresented during the 2010 census.

“This is a joint collaboration by a number of organizations and municipalities,” she said. “That cost us millions of dollars in federal funds.”

That amounted to more than $220 million, Garza-Perez said.

She also said five percent of those not counted were children under the age of 5.

In addition to the drive-thru campaigns, another organization is giving scholarships to students working with census takers to motivate people to sign up.

The initiative is a project from local community and business leaders and the Valley Alliance for Mentor Opportunities and Scholarship, or VAMOS.
For more information go to rgvcensusscholarship.org.

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