Football Players Helping Community Combat Zika

Posted: Updated: Aug 30, 2016 12:22 PM

BROWNSVILLE – Rio Grande Valley health officials continue their efforts to help keep citizens informed about the Zika virus.

Meanwhile, a group of high school football players took the initiative to also help their community combat the virus.

On a Saturday morning, Brownsville's St. Joseph Academy football team, the Bloodhounds, went from door-to-door giving the residents cans of insect repellent. The first homes they stopped by were the ones closest to the school.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of how dangerous Zika is and the threat it poses,” Carlos Esteve said. “But we hope we can get out here and educate them a little bit.”

“At our school there is a big emphasis on service. So, as a football team, we try to be a role model for our community and help out people as much as possible,” Kai Money said.

Most of the residents were happy to receive the free cans of spray and the pamphlet on how to protect their homes from mosquitoes. When the boys didn’t get an answer, they simply left the bug spray on the front steps.

“If we can distribute the cans, I think this is being preventive,” St. Joseph Athletic Director Tino Villarreal said. “It’s always the best thing that we can to. It’s better to be proactive than reactive. And that’s exactly what this campaign is all about.”

George Gavito, with the academy, pointed out the repellent costs an average of $4 and residents can’t purchase it with food stamps.

“A lot of these people are poor and (the repellent is) the last thing they’re going to buy. And if it rains, that’s the first thing they’re going to need,” he said.

Community service is a big part of who St. Joseph Academy is, according to Villarreal. The Bloodhounds will continue their mission in helping their community combat Zika. 

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