COPPERAS COVE — Than Owens traveled more than 170 miles from Grapeland to volunteer with Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter Inc.
The 22-year-old made the move in mid-October out of a desire for missionary work that allowed him to build relationships with the people he helps.
“I wanted more interaction with people,” he said. “I had been on trips where we built things, but I was looking for something longer term.”
He spoke to his pastor, who is the father of Ben Tindall, executive director of Cove House. Owens contacted Tindall to ask about helping out, and soon found himself in Central Texas.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” said Owens. “It’s surprising at a place like Cove House that there are so many hurting people.”
Working at Cove House has introduced Owens to the good and bad sides of people.
“It’s not an easy thing to deal with people. You get to see the good, the bad and definitely the ugly,” he said. “I’ve seen people who were here in the past come back to give, and I’ve seen people who come to take advantage of what we offer.”
As a volunteer, however, Owens has a better opportunity to build the relationships he wants to than he would as a staff member.
“Some feel that if relationships are built with staff members, people can abuse that,” said Owens. “I’m a volunteer, there’s nothing they can take from me but time.”
Owens volunteers full-time and has a hand in many activities at Cove House, from helping fill baskets in the food room, to running the front desk.
“Than has been an incredible asset to us, especially around the holiday season,” said Tindall. “He’s been a catalyst or spearhead in several new projects.”
Cove House’s management philosophy is heavily religion-based. Since Owens joined the team, the days now begin with group prayer. In the coming year, plans call for Cove House to take part in Bible studies and host community prayer walks.
Cove House depends on volunteers to continue its operations.
“Volunteers help with all aspects of administration, maintenance and upkeep,” said Tindall. “When we don’t have volunteers, things fall through the cracks.”
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.
How to help
Cove House was established in the early 1990s as a collective effort between the city of Copperas Cove and the Ministerial Alliance out of a wish to minister and reach out to the homeless in the city. Cove House still operates in close conjunction with the city and the alliance.
The shelter accepts clothing, toiletries and nonperishable food at its office, at 108 E. Halstead Ave. in Copperas Cove, and monetary donations by mail, in person or at www.covehouse.org, via the “Serve With Us” link.
Those wishing to volunteer their time at Cove House can call (254) 547-4673 to start the application process.
Original article may be found at: http://kdhnews.com/archive/owens-on-mission-to-help-cove-house/article_706f4470-c23b-537e-b5a2-3c78137eb39a.html