Art Gallery Helps Fight Hunger in Hurst

A table and refrigerator stocked with food is available for free, 24/7

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The Belaire Shopping Center on East Pipeline Road in Hurst is a weekly stop for Carolyn Haga.

She's not there to pick up anything. She's there to drop off packages that mean everything to those who need a little help.

"I bring sandwiches several times a week. Sometimes it's lunches, but most of the time, it's a sack lunch," Haga said.

Carolyn puts the sandwiches in a refrigerator that sits in front of Central Arts, a nonprofit art gallery. She and others also keep a table next to the fridge stocked with food.

The food is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People take what they need or leave what they can. No questions asked.

"If you're homeless or suffered a job loss in the pandemic, anybody that's in need can come here," Haga said.

"I get whatever I can here and the rest I buy at the store with the little bit of money I have left," said a woman who stops by regularly.

The pandemic exposed great need and opportunity.

"Get that creative mind going in a way that can help others in a time where we all needed it," said Cedric Santillan, who knows all about creativity.

He and his father Joshua run Central Arts. Cedric handles outreach efforts while Joshua is the director. They saw the community hurting and set up the food table then a donated fridge right outside the front door.

"This is our fifth year and the pandemic hit, and all the sudden we have a building that Hurst is paying for that we needed to utilize. So, we felt the best way was to use it to provide food to this community," Joshua Santillan said. "A year later, I have this whole thing where people are just donating food."

"There's this whole notion of the starving artist and our whole thing is we want to make sure there's no starving artist. And our whole concept is, you can't create if you're hungry," he said.

"We have a lot of awesome volunteers who take time to be part of this, like Carolyn, who do excellent work and help us succeed in taking care of this food insecurity," Cedric added.

"Bring nonperishable foods up here, set it on the table," Carolyn said. "If you want to come and donate food, we have a list of what's accepted and what we cannot accept."

It's the community stepping in with care and compassion - to feed needs both seen and unseen.

"They did it because they knew someone else was hungry and that brought a new sense of faith into my world," Joshua Santillan said.

"When I can reach out through a food ministry and fill somebody's stomach, that makes my heart full and blessed," Carolyn said.

362 E Pipeline Road
Hurst, TX 76053 To donate, contact Josh Santillan, 817-501-2644

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