Don’t let anyone sell you the old saw about kids in America being lazy, selfish and obsessed with their phones and selfies. That may be the case with some, but in Edinburg a group of energetic youngsters has been putting the lie to that criticism, and they had their energy and civic responsibility on display Friday for the best of causes.
In order to render aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey on the Golf Coast, dozens of members of the Boy and Girl Scouts of America were on hand across the street from Richard R. Flores Stadium. As the North Cougars got set to battle Brownsville Vets in the 2017 high school football opener, the youths of the town were gathering donated supplies, sorting them into piles, and generally making themselves totally useful.
When Brenda Escamilla heard about the efforts planned by the City of Edinburg, Parks and Recreation, and other entities, she figured her son Kristovan would be front and center.
“Oh yeah, of course, he totally knew what was going on and why,” said Escamilla as she watched Kristovan, a Cub Scout, and his mates getting it after it: lifting, carrying, and stacking. “He said, ‘Mom, I want to help,’ so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s go!’ He even chose the items, telling me what the people would want and need.”
All day Friday people were coming and going, dropping off canned food, paper supplies, and the like. Hurricane Harvey has displaced tens of thousands, killed an estimated 50 people, and has left shortages of basic materials such as gas and food. People in the Valley can relate, because though Harvey spared the area, memories of devastating Hurricane Beulah in 1967 still remain.
“Well, I am not old enough to have been there for it, but I have read a lot about it, heard stories,” said Ponciano Longoria, who works for the city and was present all day for the collection event, which caused quite a positive stir down on Palm Boulevard. “It was overwhelming, like Harvey has been, and it’s great to have so many people pitching in.”
One group pitching in has a legacy with the city’s newest football team, as Martha Alaniz and her son Oscar brought a bunch of goods to add to the stacks the Scouts were amassing. Her older son, Jaime Alaniz, was one of the best linemen in city annals at Vela and now plays college football.
“It could have been us, you just never know,” said Alaniz as she and Oscar – an up-and-coming eighth-grade footballer – unloaded water and paper towels among other materials. “We’re safe but the Valley has had its share of weather trouble, so we just wanted to come lend a hand.”
Anyone donating to the effort received a general admission ticket to the North game Friday, and the city’s relief exercise was just one of several taking place last week, including a series of food drives at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The locals came out last week to show the engagement and empathy – the organization, too – that has made Edinburg an All-America City on more than one occasion. With engaged youths in a key service role, the town thus displayed its character and substance in a resounding, effective manner.