Shelter, student volunteers plan Christmas meal for the homeless

feeding the homeless

There are three little houses tucked away in a residential area off Halstead Avenue where 11 individuals in need will spend their Christmas. “You want to make them enjoy the holidays,” said Benjamin Tindall, executive director of Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter. “It certainly inspires and motivates you to want to do more personally for families in a particularly difficult time.” This refuge annually serves the equivalent of one-third of Copperas Cove’s population by providing food and shelter to those who have none, and its staff worked to ensure the holidays are as bright as possible for its residents. Tindall said several programs have been planned to help residents have a merry Christmas. On Christmas Day, the Family Career Community Leadership of America group from Shoemaker High School in Killeen will hold a lunch for Cove House residents. Alexanderia Turner, a member of the group, said this will be the first year such an event has been held. The seven students who make up FCCLA said helping others was the reason they created the group. “All of us teenagers have jobs, so we’re using our own money to supply the food,” Turner said. The students will also give hygiene products such as shampoo, soap, conditioner and shaving cream. “We all just thought about it and we really feel like we’re doing a good service,” Turner said. “We want them to know that we do care and there are kids out there that want to make a difference and want to change things to the best of their ability.” Cove House has also arranged for three area churches to adopt families from its food bank client list. “The churches are really eager to make a difference and love on some people,” Tindall said. Cove House serves many families in the community through its food pantry. In light of the Christmas holidays, families will receive toys with their donation during the month of December. Clients receive 10 pounds of food per family member each month. Tindall said about half of the food is purchased from the Capital Area Food Bank, and the rest comes from donations. “Something that just blows me away is the community support that exists for Cove House,” said Benjamin Tindall, executive director of Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter. “It’s been a huge blessing for us.” Origins Since 1996, Cove House has been serving Copperas Cove and the surrounding area. It’s the only homeless shelter in the region, closer than Temple, that accepts everyone. In 2009, about 10,000 people were assisted through its food bank or housing. As of this month, between 8,000 and 9,000 individuals have been served in 2010, and Tindall said the house is on track to reach 10,000 by the end of December. Tindall said people usually seek out the shelter for a variety of reasons. Residents are permitted to stay for two weeks while looking for jobs and housing. “We follow up with residents on at least a weekly basis and make sure they’re moving forward and trying to get a place of their own,” Tindall said. After two weeks, most residents are able to make contact with family and friends. “We certainly don’t want to send anyone out with no options,” he said. “They have a house, food, toiletries, clothes, and a safe place for a couple of weeks until they get on their feet.” Since he’s been working for the organization, Tindall’s main focus has been to develop resourceful contacts for residents. “We have good plans for this place and we’re real excited about the direction we’re trying to take it,” he said. Cove House is run by three staff members and a handful of regular volunteers. One of the most devoted is Charles Alcorn, who has been volunteering daily at the organization for the past five years. “I’m disabled so I can’t hold a job, but I can sit around here and fold clothes and answer the phone,” he said. “It just seems like a good way to serve the Lord and I enjoy helping others.” Donation activity at Cove House has increased recently due to the holiday season but Alcorn noted there is also a higher need because of the state of the economy. “We have plenty to do,” he said. You can find the original story here: –