Buckner International and the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered to host a listening session in Alamo, Texas on March 28 to discuss “promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America.”
 
Mike Beatty, USDA director of the office of partnership and public engagement, and Randy Daniels, the vice president of program development and support for Buckner Children and Family Services, facilitated the conversation where local leaders shared about needs in the Rio Grande Valley and the group discussed to promote economic development in the area.
 
Rio Grande Valley organizations represented at the listening session included the Food Bank Rio Grande Valley, City of Alamo, First Baptist Church in Edinburg, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Baylor University Texas Hunger Initiative, Texas A&M University, Behavioral Health Solutions, Proyecto Azteca, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the La Joya Independent School District.
 
The Rio Grande Valley is home to the highest poverty, child poverty and hunger rates in the nation, heightening the need for economic development and opportunity. By bringing area leaders together, organizers are hoping to better assist the region’s economic growth.
 
Beatty and Ruby De La Garza, USDA education specialist for Hispanic-serving institutions, were also able to visit areas in the Rio Grande Valley, including Buckner facilities and programs. Through Buckner Missions and the Buckner Family Hope Center in Peñitas, Buckner helps families develop job skills, learn to better manage their money and improve their quality of life.

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