Thursday, April 16, 2020
  Student Life, Community

By Amanda Alaniz

EDINBURG, TEXAS – As communities continue to face challenges and change due to the  COVID-19 pandemic, compassion and kindness are more important than ever before.

UTRGV’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) remains committed to helping the university community cope by providing Bible studies via Zoom and finding ways to continue to serve food. 

BSM opened its  pay-what-you-can café  BSM Global Blends last year, serving sandwiches with an assortment of beverages. Customers enjoy the meal, and the only obligation upon leaving the restaurant is a moral one – a monetary donation based on what they can afford.

UTRGV’s BSM and PEWD partner to bring fresh produce to university community, with a ‘pay what you can’ price

By Amanda L. Alaniz

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM)  and the Office of Professional Education and Workforce Development are kicking off a food security initiative in an effort to further help the UTRGV community.

The campus-based Food Security Initiative – supported by the university’s  Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Advancement (SARA), the  Office of Sustainability, UTRGV Farm (Hub of Prosperity), local farmers and other student organizations – will bring fresh, locally sourced produce, nutritious recipes and BSM Global Blends’ newly introduced healthy menu items to the campus community.

A limited number of bags of produce will be made available on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., UTRGV students and employees on a “pay what you can” basis, on both campuses.

  • On the Edinburg Campus, the produce will be available for pickup at the BSM Global Blends parking lot. 1605 W. Schunior, across from UREC.
  • On the Brownsville Campus, the pickup location is the Brownsville Research and Community Garden (BRCG). located behind the Casa Bella office at 2651 FJRM Ave.

The bags of fresh and seasonal produce will be available every Friday at the same locations and times for the remainder of the growing season.

Each bag will include healthy recipes, information about local farmers, their contact information and nutrition information.

To stay up-to-date with BSM Global Blends and to sign up for BSM’s free Thursday lunches, visit  BSM at UTRGV on Facebook. 

Learn more about the produce initiative by calling 956-665-6513 or send email to

Now, they’ve made some changes to be able to continue to serve their patrons.

The restaurant on Thursdays would offer free lunch meals to customers. Now, to continue serving those free meals, they’ve shifted to “Drive-Thru Free Lunch.”

BSM volunteers are asking customers to sign-up via  their Facebook page to ensure they’ll receive the free meal, and the volunteers have a count for how many meals they need to prepare. 

Gabriela Izaguirre, a Campus Missionary intern, said the first time BSM held a drive-thru food service, they handed out more than a dozen plates. She thinks the numbers will grow as more people learn about what they’re doing for students, and recognizes how important something like this can be for the community. 

“I think it’s really, really significant. I think it shows a love for your community, a love for people,” she said. “It’s something encouraging in a time when most people are stressed. When people are in the drive-thru, we try to ask if we can pray for them, give them positive attention and try to show that we care.”

People who sign up can include others they know who may need a meal, like family members. 

Aside from the drive-thru free lunches on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., BSM has opened its café for drive-thru from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

BSM shared on its Facebook page  how they would be handling ordering from the café; showing how a customer would pull up to the restaurant, order via text, can make a monetary donation via text, and wait for the order without going inside. The new method is to keep everyone safe, make it contactless, and adhere to the  City of Edinburg’s ordinance to observe social distancing.

BSM also will be offering  free meal delivery to UTRGV students.

Izaguirre said they are still working out how often they will be operating moving forward, given how quickly things are changing due to the pandemic. 

They also will make adjustments to the menu in case they are unable to order a certain food item, she said. 

“We do have a Facebook page for the sandwich shop, called Global Blends. We’re currently working on how to create a little area there where people can message that group if they want to order something in advance,” she said. 

“We’re experimenting. We’re probably going to be changing things as we go to find out what works the most efficiently. But we are fully prepared and ready.”

The café is located at the intersection of Schunior Street and Sugar Road in Edinburg.

To stay up-to-date with BSM Global Blends and to sign up for the free lunches on Thursday, visit  BSM at UTRGV on Facebook.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.