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Food For Life Concerts Benefit Helping Center

Nakia and the Blues Grifters headline the Food For Life concert fundraiser for The Helping Center on May 19 at Johnson Park in Marble Falls. Photo by Reuben Atkins

MARBLE FALLS — The Helping Center of Marble Falls garden is a place people in need can get seasonal produce to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

But what if the garden had a greenhouse? How many more pounds of food could the garden provide throughout the year?

Those questions and a desire to ensure hungry people, especially children, receive food of the highest nutritional value are why Rio Saenz and Kathy Crawford, co-founders and directors of Sustainable Pulse Community, organized Food For Life, a concert fundraiser at noon Saturday, May 19, at Johnson Park, 230 Avenue J South.

Several food trucks will start serving food at 11:30 a.m.

Featured artists include Nakia and the Blues Grifters, (un)Muted, Silo Road, and Graveltooth as well as Hey Lolly Music, which will perform for the kids.

Nakia and the Blues Grifters are a soulful blues band based in Austin. Singer Nakia was a top 8 semifinalist in the first season of NBC's "The Voice" music competition.

(un)Muted plays pitch-perfect rock music, according to the band’s website. Its influences are Pearl Jam, Nirvana, the Black Keys, and Candlebox.

Silo Road, another Austin-based band, calls its sound “Ameripolitan” with a mix of Americana and roots music.

Graveltooth, which played during the 2018 South By Southwest music festival in Austin, says its music is equal parts Hill Country funk and roots-rock-psychedelia. The band is on its “Can’t Slow Down” tour, which runs from May through July.

Hey Lolly Music has an interactive and educational children’s show for all ages.

Admission to the Food For Life fundraiser is $15 per person in advance and $20 at the gates. Ages 12 and younger get in free. Go to to purchase tickets or for vendor or volunteer information.

Crawford, who is also the owner of, said Food For Life falls in line with the vision she and Saenz share: improving the quality of life of the people served by organizations such as The Helping Center, a Marble Falls food pantry and garden.

During a conversation about community involvement, Saenz mentioned to Crawford that The Helping Center was in need of a greenhouse. That discussion compelled Crawford to create the For Life series, which includes Friends For Life benefiting animal shelters, Songs For Life supporting musical organizations, and other such events to help humanitarian and charitable organizations address the issues of abuse, veterans needs, and more.

“We will have served a wide circle of groups of different organizations,” she said.

The concerts are an entertaining way to encourage people to contribute to their communities and causes.

“You can market to a larger audience and give people a reason to come out,” Crawford said. “You can say, ‘Let’s go to a fundraiser’ or ‘Let’s go to a live musical event and the funds go to this.’ You have a chance at being more successful.”

Crawford saw firsthand how The Helping Center is assisting people when she toured the building and garden with Sam Pearce, the facility’s executive director.

“The shelves were full, but there are times they run out of ... fresh vegetables (for the) children,” she said. “During the winter, children have no way to get those.”

Pearce said having a greenhouse means fresh tomatoes and strawberries all year long. Without a greenhouse, the Highland Lakes Master Gardeners, who oversee the crops, must plant according to the season. Whatever the garden doesn’t have, Pearce gets free from the Capital Area Food Bank — if it has the produce. If not, he has to purchase it from grocery stores.

That’s why a greenhouse is invaluable, he said.

The greenhouse The Helping Center wants to purchase is portable and expandable so it can grow with the needs of the community.

The Helping Center team is thankful to Crawford and Saenz along with countless others who make it a point to help the food pantry.

“We can’t do anything alone,” Pearce said. “We are solely dependent on the community and individuals. It’s so cool. I’m so impressed with (Food For Life). They’ve brought together bands, vendors. That is priceless to The Helping Center. It’s a great thing.”

“It’s important for us, knowing the nutritional value in foods, to give them more than canned products,” Crawford said. “It’s more than being hungry. It’s easy to share canned goods. It’s about making people healthy.”

Go to for more information, tickets, and volunteer opportunities regarding the May 19 event as well as tickets to the VIP garden party at Uptown Art House on May 18.

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