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Helping Center wins Hunger Hero award

Sam Pearce, Sari Vatske

The Helping Center Executive Director Sam Pearce (left) and Central Texas Food Bank CEO Sari Vatske following the Marble Falls nonprofit’s recognition as a Hunger Hero. Courtesy photo

The Helping Center is a Hunger Hero after supplying more than 1 million pounds of food to Burnet County families in need in 2023. The Central Texas Food Bank recognized the Marble Falls facility during a March 6 awards ceremony in Austin.

The Helping Center was the only food pantry to receive an award in the Central Texas Food Bank’s 21-county service area.

“Nobody is ever going to starve in Burnet County as long as The Helping Center is here,” Executive Director Sam Pearce told

He said the award highlights the center’s mission, which goes beyond providing food security to people in need.

“What we’re doing out here is just crazy between the client shopping, the educational programs, the food classes, and the amount of food we distribute,” Pearce said.

Food and monetary donations to The Helping Center are critical as it prepares for the upcoming busy season. More families seek its services in the summer with kids out of school.

“It’s always a struggle day to day, but we always seem to get stuff,” Pearce said. “In the end, God provides.”

Top needs are ramen noodles, canned corn, and anything frozen, including hotdogs.

“For kids, hotdogs are a great meal,” Pearce said.

Monetary donations are even more valuable.

“When people donate, that dollar goes further than what people can buy at the grocery store,” Pearce said. “I can stretch a dollar into five dollars when I buy stuff (from the food bank) versus when other people buy stuff (from the store).”

Financial contributions also offer more flexibility.

“Our needs are different daily, so it can be pretty hard to pinpoint exactly what we need,” Pearce said.

About 96 percent of all donations go directly to the award-winning nonprofit’s clients.

Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 402, Marble Falls, TX 78654; dropped off at The Helping Center office at 1016 Broadway in Marble Falls; or made online.