The Boys & Girls Club presented the Copperas Cove H-E-B with a banner and plaque May 30 to say “thank you” for the $1,500 the store donated to the club during its grand opening.

“It’s a big deal for them and it’s important to me that the kids go out and it’s not just me always talking to people,” Cove Boys & Girls Club Director Robert Krei said. “I want them to see who they’re supporting because it’s not me. It never was, and it never will be.”

The presentation was the children’s idea, which Krei said is typical of them.

“Anytime they find out about something, like a person being sick, they all want to make cards,” he said. “So when they saw the novelty check from H-E-B, they came up with the banner.”

The banner, which took a few days to make, reads: “Thank you H-E-B, Copperas Cove Boys & Girls Club” and included more than 50 signatures.

Some of the club’s board members also came out to the presentation, including Sandy Vegh.

“This is the kids’ way of showing appreciation for H-E-B’s support,” he said.

Seventeen children from the club toured the store and received treats from each section, including cupcakes from the bakery and assorted fruits from the produce section.

The children were as eager to show their appreciation as they were to receive the treats.

“They donated dozens and dozens of dollars towards our club,” Cherith Hicks, 10, said. “It’s fun giving back because they gave to us.”

Store manager Timothy Smith expressed his gratitude to the club.

“For them to take time out of their day to think about H-E-B really puts a smile on my face,” he said.

During the store’s grand opening in February, Smith asked the Copperas Cove city manager for names of local organizations that needed donations. The Boys & Girls Club was at the top of the list.

“It’s truly a part of the company I work for. It’s ingrained in us,” Smith said. “It’s what we do. We’re a part of the community, and we love giving back. We just happen to sell groceries.”

As a nonprofit organization, the club would not succeed without the community’s support, Keri said.

“We need help from our local businesses, our families and other organizations to keep going,” he said. “Cultivating and maintaining those partnerships is vital to the Boys & Girls Club.”

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