Hundreds of burritos, scoops of ice cream and gift cards up for grabs for last-minute census respondents

TRI-COUNTY – There are hundreds of rewards being raffled off for those who sign up to fill out the census before its September 30 deadline.

Last week in Presidio County only one in every four households had responded to the census. The final 2010 numbers were almost double that, and after coronavirus slowed down count efforts, local officials are working hard to make up for lost time.

Shelley Bernstein, an organizer with Marfa Steps Up and a member of the complete count committee, started doing the math. “I was like, wait a minute, we can’t lose millions of dollars coming into the county over the next years because of the count,” she said. In speaking with Rainer Judd, the board president of Judd Foundation, the foundation teamed up with Marfa Steps Up to collect phone numbers of anyone who has not been counted, so that census workers could reach out and help them finish the count.

From that partnership, efforts were inspired in other local towns, leading to prize offerings in Fort Davis, Alpine and Presidio too.

“The count closes on the 30th, the giveaway closes on the 29th,” Bernstein said. “We need people to sign up earlier than that to get counted.”

Marfa Steps Up and the Judd Foundation partnered with the Rio Grande Council of Government’s Far West Texas census effort to help get the census count up by offering a really big food giveaway.

Among the Marfa prizes are five $50 Convenience West BBQ gift cards, five $50 Porter’s gift cards, 150 Marfa Burritos and 30 large DQ Blizzards.

Peggy O’Brien, the COG’s Get Out the Count coordinator, has found that collecting phone numbers is an “easy and really effective outreach method, so we are building on it,” said Bernstein.

People enter their number on a form and census workers call. This helps the census staffers connect with people quickly without the need to have physical contact, and census staff can walk people through how to respond over the phone giving them the support they need.

Households who haven’t completed the census can follow the link for their town and enter their phone number to be entered to win prizes.

190 prizes including barbecue, burritos, Porter’s, DQ:

Marfa Counts (English):

Marfa Cuenta (Español)l:

$100 worth of food and non-alcoholic beverages at The Bean Cafe:

Presidio Counts (English):

Presidio Cuenta (Español):

One of 30 coupons for a double scoop of ice cream at the Fort Davis Drug Store:

Fort Davis Counts (English):

Fort Davis Cuenta (Español):

One of 30 coupons for a double scoop of ice cream at Plaine:

Alpine Counts (English):

Alpine Cuenta (Español):

Help make sure every household gets counted in the U.S. Census by September 30 and win prizes along the way. Getting counted is easy — use the link to enter your phone number. Census workers will call and you’ll automatically be entered to win.