The government shutdown brought on by the legislative and executive branches inability to agree on an appropriations bill, put many Americans in a tight spot. The longest government shutdown in the country’s history led to a frenzy that kept an estimated 800,000 government employees out of work or forced them to work without pay.

The brothers of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Alumni Association, saw the great need of many community members working for different government agencies whom had not received a paycheck in more than a month and decided to get to work. They coordinated a barbecue plate giveaway for government employees from furloughed federal agencies affected by the shutdown.

The alumni association tapped into their network and were able to get 300 pounds of chicken donated to them for their effort. Brothers got to coordinating and were able to get other items donated by members in the community and association members and other alumni.

The RGV alumni put on their barbecue for furloughed government employees and its impact on the border town community was instantly felt. The event was held last Saturday February 9th in Edinburg, TX.

Edward Gaitan, Alpha Gamma alumnus and PR chair for the Association shared why it was important for the group to act during this time.

“I basically pitched the idea to our group after seeing how many people were being affected by the shutdown. Since we live in a border town, there’s a surplus of government entities down here and it seemed like we all knew someone working for either Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, ATF, or other federal agencies” he explained.

It was the fact that the government shutdown hit so close to home and that the RGV alumni were able to relate that threw them into high gear into getting this effort of the ground.

And they weren’t the only ones. Businesses throughout the RGV also extended a helping hand during this time of great need for federal employees in their community. Delia’s Tamales, an RGV staple, was one of the businesses who answered the call and offered free tamales to federal employees during the lapse in appropriations. Many other businesses offered free meals and deals to federal employees.

An estimated 250 plates of barbecue chicken were served by the RGV Alumni Association to the furloughed workers and their families.

It goes without saying that the Honorable Knights answer the call to serve those in need when times get tough and this government shutdown was no exception.