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Pitch in to pack pantries’ shelves with protein sources

The Helping Center of Marble Falls

Martin McLean, a volunteer at The Helping Center of Marble Falls Area, gathers a case of donated canned beans for sacking. Local food pantries are in need of protein sources such as canned meats and beans and dried beans. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton


Sam Pearce has a quiet, confident faith. No matter how bare the shelves get at The Helping Center of Marble Falls Area, he believes God will provide.

“It’s been a tough summer, but we’ll get through,” he said as he looked at the food pantry’s storage area.

Several empty spots on the shelves stand out. It’s mostly where canned meats and canned and dried beans usually go.

“We haven’t had any canned tuna this summer, and it’s one of our biggest things we use for protein,” Pearce said. “We’re definitely in need of more protein like canned meats and beans. We haven’t been able to get much.”

It’s not just The Helping Center. Pearce listed off other area food pantries, including Sharing the Harvest in Kingsland, LACare in Burnet, Joseph’s Food Pantry in Granite Shoals, and a few churches, that have struggled getting easy-to-serve protein sources for their clients.

Area food pantries rely heavily on the Central Texas Food Bank for much of their nonperishable food, but when it comes to protein sources, Pearce said deliveries have been a bit light. When they do get canned meats or beans, it’s only a few cases. A case has 16 cans in it.

“We give two bags of tuna in a bag, so that’s just eight bags,” Pearce said. “I need a hundred cases.”

Even the number and types of canned and dried beans are down. They have some bags of dried split peas and dried navy beans, but no dried pinto beans.

“If I don’t get it (from the Central Texas Food Bank), we have to go out and buy it off the shelves at the store ourselves,” Pearce said.

That digs into the food pantry budget because it costs more to buy from a local grocery store compared to the bulk prices they get through the Central Texas Food Bank.

Donations can help food pantries meet their needs. And Pearce is confident the community will pitch in. Since he put out a request for more nonperishable protein sources, people have dropped off items, enough to fill several cases. And they’ve donated money as well.

“We’ll make it, we always do,” Pearce said, “but it’s been a struggle.”

Donations can be dropped off at The Helping Center, 1315 Broadway in Marble Falls. Other local food pantries that could use assistance are: LACare, 507 Buchanan Drive in Burnet; Joseph’s Food Pantry, 706 North Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals; and Sharing the Harvest, 3435 RR 1431 West in Kingsland.

Another way to help fight hunger and food insecurity in the area is by supporting the Burnet County Hunger Alliance. The alliance works with area leaders, organizations, school districts, and concerned residents to address hunger issues.