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Food pantries struggle to stock shelves as grocery store shoppers stock up

The Helping Center of Marble Falls food pantry

With concerns over COVID-19 changing the way the food service industry operates, even food pantries such as The Helping Center of Marble Falls are switching to curbside only. The Helping Center Executive Director Sam Pearce says volunteers will bring food to clients’ vehicles and load it for them. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Lottie McCorkle understands she might be asking a lot, but, as LACare’s executive director, she knows she has to ask.

“We understand it’s hard for everyone,” said McCorkle in reference to the coronavirus pandemic. “We’re trying to take care of the needy and get them through as well.”

The Burnet-based food pantry is in need itself.

“We could use anything non-perishable (food) that people can afford to spare,” McCorkle said. “And monetary donations.”

As COVID-19 and fears over the disease spread, people are clearing grocery store shelves while food pantries are trying to keep their own shelves stocked and clients supplied.

The Helping Center of Marble Falls Executive Director Sam Pearce said one commodity the pantry was most in need of was bread and other baked goods. Typically, he can pick up baked goods from H-E-B, but with such high demand from shoppers, there hasn’t been any for the grocer to spare.

Pearce mentioned his concerns to Alex Payson, owner of Numinous Coffee Roasters in Marble Falls. Payson’s response was to commit to baking at least 48 loaves of bread a day for The Helping Center.

“That’s incredible,” Pearce said.

The Helping Center of Marble Falls food pantry
As people clear grocery store shelves of baked goods, retailers such as H-E-B have fewer loaves of bread to donate to The Helping Center of Marble Falls. Fortunately, Numinous Coffee Roasters owner Alex Payson has committed to baking at least 48 loaves of bread a day for the food pantry. Highland Lakes food pantries are asking for food and monetary donations during this time. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Marble Falls-based food pantry served approximately 160 clients the week of March 16-20, about 35 more than its weekly average.

Even with Payson’s help, The Helping Center might still need more baked goods and bread.

And there’s always room for other food donations. Pearce said he’d really appreciate any gardeners who have extra produce or hunters who have processed game they can spare.

At Joseph’s Food Pantry in Granite Shoals, Director Roy Guerrero said donations are definitely needed.

“Any dry goods, that’s what we need,” he said.

Guerrero listed dried pinto beans, rice, and canned food, especially canned meats. With much of the fresh meat disappearing off store shelves, Guerrero said any canned meat — from tuna to corned beef — would be greatly appreciated.

All three directors anticipate the demand on food pantries will increase in the days and weeks to come.

Pantries are adjusting their services to protect their clients and volunteers. The folks at The Helping Center donned protective gloves and wiped down grocery baskets after every use. They are also doing curbside service only.

“Nobody has to come in,” Pearce said. “We’ll take it out to them.”

LACare has also switched to curbside as well.

Currently, LACare is operating on its regular days and hours, 2-6 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Those who want to drop off donations can do so during those times. Call LACare at 512-756-4422. The pantry is located on the grounds of Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church, 507 W. Buchanan Drive in Burnet.

The Helping Center of Marble Falls has reduced its hours to 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is located at 1315 Broadway in Marble Falls. Call 830-693-5689 for more information.

Joseph’s Food Pantry distributes food at 2 p.m. the first, second, and third Tuesdays of the month, but Guerrero said a distribution is scheduled for March 24. Distributions are first come, first served. The pantry is located at 706 N. Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals. Call 830-220-2344 for more information or to arrange a donation drop-off.

The Bertram Food Pantry, located behind Holy Cross Catholic Church at 520 Texas 29, is open 1-3 p.m. Thursdays. Call 512-355-2918 for more information.

1 thought on “Food pantries struggle to stock shelves as grocery store shoppers stock up

  1. What about Llano in the city of Llano we only have one food bank where can we get something here for a senior citizen especially some of us that don’t have transportation to go get it

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