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Helping Center launches free book fair featuring astronauts, NASA scientists

The Helping Center of Marble Falls

The Helping Center of Marble Falls will hold a Read4Life free book fair for kids June 11 at its headquarters in the Community Resource Center, 1016 Broadway. Inside, volunteers stock the shelves of the Helping Center’s food pantry. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The Helping Center of Marble Falls is hosting an out-of-this-world Read4Life book fair with NASA scientists, astronauts reading in space, and thousands of donated books.

The free fair is from 9-11 a.m. June 11 at the center and food pantry, 1016 Broadway in Marble Falls.

“What we’re trying to do with The Helping Center is reach our clients in ways other than just handing food to them,” said Barbara King, coordinator of the center’s Learn4Life program, which teaches people how to lead healthier lives. 

Videos from the International Space Station’s series “Story Time from Space” with astronauts reading children’s books will be shown during the event.  

NASA scientists Mary Beth and Greg Edeen will give presentations on the research being conducted aboard the International Space Station and through the Artemis Program, a mission to return Americans to the moon by 2024.  

Children can choose from about 2,000 books in both English and Spanish, all donated by the Highland Lakes community.  

“The goal here is to get books in the hands of children at the beginning of the summer months, so they’ll be able to read throughout the summer,” King said. 

As part of that effort, Helping Center volunteers will read aloud to children from 10-10:30 a.m. every Saturday, June 18-Aug. 13, at the facility.

The book fair will double as the inauguration of the Marble Falls Little Free Library, a permanent installation at The Helping Center from which kids can borrow and exchange books at any time. The Little Free Library is a worldwide system of more than 125,000 installations.

“I think the ability to read and write is fundamental to lead a good and successful life. If we can help the kids of our clients and the kids of this community learn how to read, learn how to have that curiosity, learn how to have that love of reading, they’re gonna go far in life,” King said.

The Helping Center of Marble Falls food pantry has been serving southern Burnet County since 1987. It is open from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday as well as 5-7 p.m Tuesdays and Thursdays. Visit its website or call 830-693-5689 for more information.