To boost census participation, Valley cities turn to barbecue

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Cities across the Rio Grande Valley are scrambling to boost participation in the 2020 Census by any means necessary.

In Pharr and Harlingen, they turned to a sure thing on Saturday: barbecue.

Harlingen city spokeswoman Irma Garza said they prepared enough plates for 400 people.

"I think that we are probably going to be left with no food," Garza said.

In Pharr, city officials worked with Uncle Roy's BBQ, Bar-B-Cutie SmokeHouse and Rudy's to encourage census participation.

"My parents have always been very focused on helping out the community. We've always been doing fundraisers, trying to get the lowest prices for people to help out with their cause," said Monica Palacios of Uncle Roy's BBQ. "I do believe that it's on us to help out the community in any way we can."

Pharr residents who filled out the census received a voucher for a free meal.

"While the response rate is not as good as we would like — the pandemic does not help," said City Commissioner Ricardo Medina.

About 80 people filled out the census during the first hour.

Pharr will hold follow-up events on Saturday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 26.

The deadline to complete the census is Sept. 30.

Census 2020 PHARR-B-Q Round-Up

Saturday, September 19, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pharr Events Center

3000 N. Cage Blvd

Pharr, TX 78577


Saturday, September 26, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pharr Development and Research Center

850 W. Dicker Rd.

Pharr, TX 78577


7 Days