VFW donates part of bingo profits to local charities

VFW Bingo

With $1.50, Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter can buy 10 pounds of food for its food pantry.

With the $1,500 that VFW Post 8577 in Copperas Cove donated to the shelter on Tuesday, Cove House can buy 10,000 pounds and feed 1,000 people for a week.

“You can see the smile on my face today,” said Linda Steimer, executive director of Cove House.

The VFW post also donated $1,500 to In The Zone, a veterans assistance and peer-to-peer counseling organization that has an office at the Cove VFW.

The funds came from bingo hosted at the Cove VFW 8577 on Thursdays, Saturday and Sundays as well as the first and fourth Friday of the month. Every 90 days, the state requires the VFW donate 35 percent of its bingo profits to a registered charity.

VFW 8577 Bingo Chairman Willie Fields said the VFW used to donate to out-of-town charities such as the Shriners Hospitals, but now wants to keep the donations within the community.

“We need to be reminded that we are all in this together,” Fields said. “It’s not about me or the VFW, it’s about the community helping each other.”

Cove House’s food pantry served 1,078 families in November, its highest number since 1996. Steimer said December is likely to show the same number.

“It’s gentlemen like (Fields), and businesses and churches and the ministerial alliance and the community that all come together to help us,” Steimer said. “If the community didn’t embrace us the way they do, we wouldn’t be here.”

Cove House has a homeless shelter that serves more than 500 people every year in addition to the food pantry that sees around 10,000 people a year. The shelter’s pantry is stocked with donations and food bought from the Capitol Area Food Bank.

In The Zone, or Bring Everyone In The Zone, offers veterans assistance in addition to group and one-on-one counseling.

“We are an organization that points and clicks, puts them in the right direction,” said S. Craig Lacy, a facilitator who works out of the Cove VFW and an elected member of the organization’s board. “We are a hand up, not a hand out.”

The donation from VFW 8577 will go to veterans assistance programs that serve between 150 and 200 people a month, Lacy said.

“A lot of nights I’m here until midnight helping a veteran with their claim, or a lot of them just need to talk to find out that it’s OK to have (post-traumatic stress) disorder,” he said.

Fields said he keeps an eye on local charities and chose In The Zone and Cove House this month because he sees and is familiar with what they do and the help they offer the community.

“I suffer from a form of PTSD myself, and I know the kind of work (In The Zone) does. And I haven’t experienced anything the Cove House helps with, but I can see when people need help,” he said.

You can find the original story here: http://kdhnews.com/copperas_cove/local/vfw-donates-part-of-bingo-profits-to-local-charities/article_37df09c0-94ae-5bf9-92a7-d50a2baa8256.html