KILLEEN — Operation Phantom Support is one step closer to purchasing new equipment for its food pantry after a weekend fundraiser.
The Saturday festival not only raised more than $1,000 to put toward a new walk-in freezer, it gave the community a fun, affordable way to usher in summer vacation, said John Valentine, president and CEO of the Killeen-based nonprofit.
“We really appreciate the support from the local community,” Valentine said.
Held in front of the nonprofit’s Sgt. Leevon Ritter Support Your Troops Resale Center on East Avenue C, hundreds of people attended the festival, which included pony rides, face painting, games and food.
Amanda Burks, a military spouse, brought her three children to show support for the organization. “They do a lot for the military community. This is our way of giving back,” she said.
Operation Phantom Support is a membership-based support organization for active-duty military and veterans. For $10 a month, members can visit the food pantry — open twice a week. The resale shop is open to anyone and proceeds support the nonprofit.
Andrea Fleming, who organized Saturday’s festival, said the idea started small and grew as more local businesses offered support and donations.
“It’s just to get everybody together to do something fun for the kids,” she said. “I really love the members. I see the kids so often and I talk to the parents. They can’t (afford to) take their kids to a carnival.”
Shavonn Hull has a membership to Phantom Support and brought four children out to participate in the festivities.
“It’s a great opportunity to help the community as well as give back to the military,” she said.