Close to 500 people gathered in the Frank Mayborn Convention Center to celebrate the Central Texas Youth Services’ 50th anniversary at the Taste of Central Texas on Thursday. This annual event is one of the most important for the organization.

Danny Gordon, who has worked for the agency for seven years now, reiterates this idea.

“It’s our big fundraiser,” Gordon said. “It brings people out and gives more attention to what we do and our programs.”

Celebrating the services of the Central Texas Youth Services was the main purpose of this event, as the organization offers a multitude of services for the troubled and homeless youth of Central Texas.

“We provide everything from hygiene products to pots and pans, you know, all the little things you think of to move out on your own. We also provide resources even if we can’t provide the housing part of that,” Gordon said.

The organization also offers counseling to youth in need, whether it be for children who have runaway or experienced trafficking. If there is any way this organization can help, they do their best to give it, and it has had a major impact on the community and lives of the children it helps.

“Without these programs, these kids would be essentially lost,” Gordon said.

Because of its services, the local community seemed more than willing to gather to celebrate and fundraise at the 19thannual Taste of Central Texas.

This event boasted approximately 30 restaurants around the area to serve ticket holders. The food ranged from the savory Back Porch Drafthouse to sweet Water Street Waffle Co.

Throughout the night, there was live entertainment by singer Horace Willis, an auction and an election for the best vendors of the night. Winners included the Sugar Shack for best decorations, Bush’s Chicken for best entertainment, Costa Caribe Seafood & Grill House for best tasting food and Freezing Point for best dessert.

All proceeds from the event go toward improving the services of the organization. When asked what their future looks like, there is a clear goal.

“Our vision is to help everyone who walks through that door and provide them housing they need or whatever they need to feel safe” Gordon said.

Even after 50 years, Central Texas Youth Services is dedicated to helping any youth they can and were ecstatic to celebrate it with their hundreds of supporters.