After freeze, cities, school district give aid

Derry Elementary Principal Maribel Valdez hands a PI-ISD student a meal bundle outside the Villa Madre apartments in Port Isabel on Feb. 26. Photo by Gaige Davila.






By Gaige Davila 

Immediately after temperatures rose after last week’s freeze, the Laguna Madre’s cities and Point Isabel Independent School District (PI-ISD) came to aid. 

With school cancelled for the entirety of last week, and portions of the Laguna Madre area still without power, PI-ISD hand delivered meals to students on Feb. 18, driving around Laguna Vista, Laguna Heights, Port Isabel and South Padre Island in bus-led caravans. 

In all, 7,260 meals were delivered. 

“It was wonderful to be able to not just give out the meals but also to touch base with our students and our families,” PI-ISD Superintendent Theresa Capistran told the PRESS. “Our volunteers were super eager to go out and assist our community.” 

Port Isabel High School Principal Imelda Munivez hands a meal bundle to a PI-ISD student outside the Villa Madre apartments in Port Isabel on Feb. 18. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Some families told PI-ISD staff delivering meals they needed other supplies, like blankets, candles and milk, when asked if they needed anything. PI-ISD staff then went to Walmart to buy groceries, supplies and other necessities, going back to the homes to deliver them.

One family, whose children are PI-ISD students, received additional support from the school district thanks to a donation from Magic Valley Electric Company after their apartment caught fire during the freeze. 

Also on Feb. 18, the Town of Laguna Vista served free hot dogs and chips at their fire hall, also distributing water cases at city hall. 

The City of Port Isabel partnered with the Public Utility of Brownsville (PUB) and PI-ISD to bring a water tanker to the student parking lot of Port Isabel High School for four days, from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23. Around 6,500 gallons of water were inside the tanker, available for anyone in the Laguna Madre area who needed it, after much of the area’s water supply was down due to the freeze. 

The City of Port Isabel gave out food and water on Feb. 19, at the Port Isabel Cultural & Event Center, donated by the state and Cameron County. Two-hundred food bundles were given out and thousands of bottles of water, according to the City of Port Isabel. 

On Feb. 20, PI-ISD, Noble Charities and Catholic Charities USA delivered 250 chicken plates to homes across the Laguna Madre’s communities. Sixty PI-ISD staff members volunteered for the deliveries. 

On Feb. 21, the City of South Padre Island distributed 790 cases of water to Laguna Madre residents. 

“This past week has been so challenging to so many of our families, but it has been beyond heartwarming to see how our Tarpon community comes together to help those in need,” Capistran said. 

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