Copperas Cove resident Julie Hawkins is one of many in the area who relies heavily on donations from local food pantries to feed her family, especially during the holiday season.
Waiting outside of the Holy Family Catholic Church’s food pantry, My Brother’s House, for her weekly order, Hawkins described the impact charitable organizations have on the community.
“They are very important because a lot of people get food stamps, but it’s not enough. A lot of people are out here struggling and can’t pay their bills.”
A single mother of three, Hawkins receives three separate types of government assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income but said cannot make ends meet, she said.
“My Thanksgiving depends on (charity) because without it, I couldn’t afford (food),” she said. “In this economy, it’s hard to find work and if you have any criminal or drug background, no one will help you.”
Hawkins’ story is far too common today judging by the line outside the food pantry.
My Brother’s House is one of four major food donation centers in Coryell County — including the Refuge Corporation, Cove House Food Pantry and Cove Soup Kitchen — that help feed a growing percentage of the population. There are approximately two dozen additional food donation centers in Copperas Cove, Kempner and Lampasas to help feed a combined population of 41,339 people.
My Brother’s House, open Tuesday through Saturday, donates 20,000 pounds of food each month, feeding more than 500 families, said food pantry manager James Glowinski.
Holy Family Catholic Church is the biggest contributor to the food pantry with Capital Area Food Bank in Austin, Walmart, and various donors in the community also donating.
During the holidays, the number of people in need increases tremendously Glowinski said.
Together with the Refuge Corporation, My Brother’s House handed out 550 holiday baskets last year.
In 2012, Cove House food pantry handed out 118,000 pounds of food it received from Capital Area Food Bank, H-E-B, Starbucks, Black Meg, and local farms, feeding 9,000 people.
With 101,660 pounds of food and 7,800 fed already this year, organizers expect to exceed last year’s numbers.
The Cove Soup Kitchen, established in May, feeds more than 100 families each month.
For their first Thanksgiving, organizers are planning to hold a meal at the facility that will be open to the public, said co-owner Rachella Leggett.
The soup kitchen’s food supply is mainly generated through various fundraisers and organizations including Fort Hood.