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Loaves & Fishes: Helping the Hungry and the Hurting in the RGV

(This article was written by Lisa Campos and appeared in the April 2024 issue of Explore Harlingen Magazine.)

Wall of Honor at Loaves & Fishes of the RGV. Courtesy of L&FRGV.

The Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), with a location in Harlingen and a satellite site in Raymondville, is much more than just a kitchen that serves food on holidays. You might not be aware that Loaves & Fishes of the RGV serves three hot and nutritious meals consisting of proteins, greens, and starches a day, five days a week, every week for the entire calendar year. Their Harvest Table food pantry also distributes food bags to those in need or who have food insecurities.


MMA cheerleaders volunteer to create food bags. Courtesy of L&FRGV.

In addition to feeding the hungry, Loaves & Fishes of the RGV nourishes the needy in other ways such as providing temporary residence and assistance for homeless individuals or those affected during severe storms or hurricanes; offering basic health and wellness education and services; and offering GED preparation, computer classes, and job assistance through their New Hope Job Shop.


They also provide short-term family emergency assistance for those who are unable to pay rent or utilities.


What’s especially remarkable about Loaves & Fishes is that they serve everyone no matter what race/ethnicity, culture, or socioeconomic status.


Loaves & Fishes of the RGV is an independent nonprofit organization that is not part of a state or national network. It was established in 1991 in Harlingen, primarily as a food kitchen for indigent families. They relocated to their current location at 514 S. “E” Street 16 years ago and have expanded their suite of services over the years.


After executive director Pastor Bill Reagan nearly retired three years ago after 11 years of service, Victor Rivera was named as his successor. Victor was previously employed by the Brownsville Literacy Center for 19 years, which proved to be a solid foundation for his transition to Loaves & Fishes of the RGV.


Executive director Victor Rivera with Lions Club members with a donation check. Courtesy of L&FRGV.

Victor estimates that at least 1,6000 individuals are helped per year, not counting homeless individuals. In 2023, they served more than 85,000 meals; helped with more than $121,000 financial aid through Family Emergency Assistance; and provided more than 5,000 bed nights provided in the shelter.


Meals are served Mondays through Fridays with the following schedule: breakfast is served from 8 am to 9 am; lunch is provided from 12 noon to 1 pm; and dinner is distributed from 4 pm to 5 pm.


Student or community volunteers are always welcome to help with food drives, create food bags, hold hygiene product drives, donate canned food or clothing, or purchase items from their wish lists.

A group of volunteers help with food bags. Courtesy of L&FRGV.

The community can also help Loaves & Fishes of the RGV by attending or providing sponsorships for their two annual fundraisers: the 19th Annual Charity Dinner, which will be held in late November or December, and the upcoming 16th Annual Style Show, “Fashion Through the Decades,” on Saturday, April 13, from 11 am to 2 pm, at the Texas Cultural Arts Center, 1825 N. Loop 499. Tickets cost $100 each and include assigned seating, meal, and fashion show.


As for upcoming goals, Victor is working to create a family unit space so families can stay together when housed at the shelter. Currently, families are split by gender (older boys go with their fathers while older girls are sent to be with their mothers). But Victor sees the importance of families staying in the same shared space, so he and his team are working on converting spaces to accommodate multiple families at a time.


You can reach Loaves & Fishes of the RGV by calling 956-545-7044, emailing Victor at victor@lfrgv.org, or visiting their website, lfrgv.org.

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