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10/5/2023 - HAIRY MAN FESTIVAL SPOTLIGHT: Learn how food donations at Hairy Man Fest help the community

 District hoping to break food donation records at the 2023 Hairy Man Festival

For Lori Scott, executive director of the Round Rock Area Serving Center, working with the Brushy Creek MUD through the Hairy Man Festival has proven to be an invaluable partnership.

Not only does the free-to-attend event yield the Serving Center about 1,300 pounds of food each year through donations made by festival attendees, many of whom are District residents, but it also serves another critical function, Scott said.

“It’s really a big deal to participate in the (Hairy Man) festival,” she said. “For us, it raises the awareness level of hunger in our community and what the Serving Center does. There are other events that support the Serving Center, but not like this.”

Round Rock and the surrounding area have always had a need for organizations like the Serving Center, but Scott said in some ways the need is even greater now.

As communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation continues to drive up grocery bills, non-profit hunger facilities like the Serving Center are seeing steady annual increases in the number of clients they help.

From 2019 to 2020, the Serving Center’s caseload grew by 102%. In 2021, it grew another 33%. Last year, the caseload increased 39% from 2021, which translated to about 87,400 people assisted by the organization.

When the final number of clients assisted is tallied for 2023, Scott said she expects to see the trend continuing, especially since the cost of necessities such as food, gas, and housing keeps rising.

For the 2023 Hairy Man Festival, which takes place Oct. 21 at Cat Hollow Park in the Brushy Creek MUD, Scott said about 35 Serving Center volunteers will be on hand to process donations from eventgoers.

“We’ll be there all day to do our part for that,” Scott said, adding Serving Center volunteers will take all kinds of food donations at the event, from canned goods to other non-perishable items.

While Scott said she is happy for any donations that come from Hairy Man Festival attendees, BCMUD Community Center Manager Alex Owens said she hopes donations this year will be record-breaking.

A 17-year Team Member with the BCMUD, Owens has worked the Hairy Man Festival since the District took it over in 2015. She said the festival is just one of many ways District residents show up for their community.

“Our residents have always exemplified the meaning of The Brushy Creek Life, especially through donations at Hairy Man,” Owens said. “This year, I think we will show to an even greater degree why we have that reputation.”

What to donate:

There is no charge to attend the 2023 Hairy Man Festival, but food donations are encouraged and appreciated. The list below is not comprehensive but details many acceptable items to donate.

  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned soup
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned meats
  • Pastas

Did you know?

Because the service area encapsulates the majority of southern Williamson County, Scott said the Round Rock Area Serving Center is one of the largest organizations that partners with the Central Texas Food Bank, which helps feed people from Schertz up to Waco.

However, the Serving Center is more than just a nonprofit that assists people who are food insecure.

Here are some key facts about the Round Rock Area Serving Center:

  1. The Serving Center officially opened in 1987.
  2. Today, the nonprofit has six full-time employees and about 250 volunteers who help meet client needs.
  3. The Serving Center has a store called The Treasures Charity Resale Shop & Boutique, where furniture, clothing, and other non-food items are sold.
  4. This summer, the Serving Center broke ground on a new 16,000-square-foot building that will hold the new location of its resale shop and boutique, a larger donation area, and veterans services offices. The facility will be next to the existing building on E. Main Street near downtown Round Rock.
  5. The Serving Center recently worked with the Central Texas Food Bank and Amazon to create a home delivery program for homebound seniors, veterans, people without reliable transportation, and the disabled.
  6. The Serving Center has dozens of individual gardens on site that support a fresh foods program.

Click here for more information on ways to help the Round Rock Area Serving Center.

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