BY BENJAMIN TREVIÑO
Six McAllen restaurants, two Valley banks and the Food Bank of the RGV are teaming up to help feed families that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. Free lunch plates consisting of a hamburger (with fixings), potato chips, and a bottle of water will be handed out this Sunday.
The plates will be distributed curbside at the Food Bank RGV headquarters located at 724 N. Cage Blvd. in Pharr from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until the plates run out. There will be a limit of four plates per vehicle. The food giveaway is a joint project of six McAllen-area restaurants: Koko’s Restaurants, Marco’s Burgers, Lone Star BBQ, Sweet Temptations, Blue Onion, and Mama’s Pizzeria on North 10th. They are all contributing items for the plates and will prepare them on Sunday morning.
“We’ve been blessed with great customers and we want to do something for them,” said Koko’s owner George Suarez, who came up with the idea along with his brother, Albert. “We’ve been fortunate to have people help us by ordering take out during the shutdown and we wanted to do something in return and help out the locals.”
“The community has been so good to all of us who are still open,” Albert added. “We’re united as one team and doing this for the community. We don’t see each other as competitors at all. That’s what’s so neat about this.”
“The community has supported us, so we want to give back something to them,” said Darrell Myska, owner of Lone Star BBQ. “The banks have been good to us, and the community has been good to us. We’ve always been close to God, God told us to do this, and that’s what we want to do.”
“We’ve been real fortunate and real lucky in the amount of support that we’ve gotten over the years,” said Gary Ancelin, owner of Blue Onion Restaurant. “We have an opportunity to give something back when people are in need and we’re happy to do it.”
“We’re all in this together and we want to share in the work load,” said Sweet Temptations owner, Marty Lipscomb. “We want to give back to those who are in need and be thankful. This has been difficult for us, but a lot of people have no income right now and we feel this is the best thing we can do at the moment.”
“We have seen our community come together to support local businesses and now it’s our turn,” said Marco’s Burgers owner, Clarissa Suarez. “We want to pay it forward, and give to our community. That’s our goal; to give back and help others as well.”
“We all need to be together during times like this and help the ones who aren’t as fortunate,” added Steve Marino, owner of Mama’s Pizzeria on North 10th. “There are a lot of people without jobs. There so many businesses that are closed, so it’s affecting everyone and we wanted to help and give back. It’s been awesome how the community has helped us, too, during this situation.”
The food giveaway is being sponsored by IBC Bank-McAllen, and Texas Regional Bank.
“We just want to give back to the community,” said Alin Lopez, director of marketing at IBC Bank. “We know some of our customers have lost their jobs and we just want to give a little back, because some of them are going through a really hard time right now.”
“With everything going on in the Valley, we felt that it would be beneficial for us to help where we can help,” said Brent Baldree, chief lending officer/South Texas regional market president, Texas Regional Bank. “We get a lot of business, especially from the food industry and we felt this would be a good way to support them. We appreciate the Food Bank and the local restaurants that are participating and we’re glad to be able to support them.”