Cattlemen’s RoundUp to fundraise for children’s hospital

Local agriculture organizations are joining forces Friday morning to host their annual auction fundraiser that will benefit Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

The Starr County 4-H club and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are holding the South Texas Cattlemen’s RoundUp for the hospital at 11 a.m. today at the Starr County Fairgrounds in Rio Grande City.

According to a news release from Driscoll, Cattlemen’s RoundUps are grassroots fundraisers held every year throughout the hospital’s 31-county service area. Local 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America chapters, county extension agents and businesses donate items and services to auction at the free, public event.

The money raised will go towards the hospital’s Critical Care Transport & High Risk Program, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit’s Angel Eye Program, the release said.

The transport program brings patients from all around South Texas to the hospital’s various locations, and the Angel Eye program will allow the hospitals to purchase cameras that hook on to cradles in the NICU so families can check in on their babies.

The money for these programs will come from the RoundUp’s auction, which will include homemade baked goods, handmade items, farm and ranch items, gift baskets, livestock feed and gift cards.

Holly Marshall, a coordinator for the event from Driscoll’s development department, said last year she saw cakes go for $350 and pies go for $500.

“It’s mind-boggling, but awesome to see,” Marshall said of being at the event. “It’s really neat to see kids raising money for kids, especially in the summer. They’re giving up their day to do this.”

According to Marshall, there were seven RoundUps last year throughout Driscoll’s service area that raised a total of over $195,000. She said this year they have nine, which are expected to bring in over $200,000 for the hospital. Two of those are Friday’s fundraiser in Rio Grande City, and another one in Edinburg on Aug. 11.

Marshall described the event as unique – they often take place in auction barns or 4-H banquets, with parents helping their kids raise the money and people spending outrageous amounts on pastries just to help the hospital. She described the atmosphere as “very giving” and said it’s a “huge blessing” to work in an environment with that kind of spirit.

Driscoll has locations throughout South Texas, including Corpus Christi, the Rio Grande Valley, Victoria and Laredo – but despite the distance, Marshall said the hospital is like “one big family.”

“It’s a passion I have, being able to raise money for these kids and knowing that the money is staying here at Driscoll,” Marshall said. “Hearing some of the patients’ miracles stories, we know the families are genuinely grateful. We’ve all got one objective in mind, and that’s to take care of these kids.”

To donate, visit www.driscollchildrens.org or call the hospital at 361-694-6419 or the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at (956) 487-2306. The Cattlemen’s RoundUp will take place at the Starr County Fairgrounds, located at 1323 E. San Benito St., Rio Grande City.

bmujica@themonitor.com