Copperas Cove Community Thanksgiving Basket Benefit

Jeffrey West helps put together Thanksgiving family meals while volunteering at the Copperas Cove Community Thanksgiving Basket Benefit giveaway Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.

The Killeen Food Care Center isn’t the only place area residents can get food. About 45 organizations in the area work with Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

The bank provides a variety of food services to those organizations but its biggest role is to supply bulk food purchases for the cost of shipping.

Capital Area Food Bank supports 21 counties and 10 percent of all the organizations served are in Bell County, said Sara LeStrange, a Capital Area spokeswoman.

“(Bell County) has the highest concentration of organizations that we serve outside of the Austin area,” she said. “There are more agencies in Bell County than there are in McLennan County.”

Two food care centers that partner with Capital Area include Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter Food Bank and Baptist Benevolence Ministry, both of which operate in Copperas Cove.

Between the two, they feed an average of 575 families, or 1,900 people, per month.

Baptist Benevolence Ministry is a collection of five Copperas Cove Baptist churches where families can get food, clothing and financial assistance from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday. It operates at 307 N. Fifth St.

“The need is getting greater every day,” said Doris McCrary, the director of Baptist Benevolence. “What we were serving a year ago, the need has almost doubled.”

The ministry, which gathers donations from church members, never has a problem meeting the cost of supplying food stuffs — between $800 and $1,000 a month, McCrary said. However, its operations are limited to families receiving food once a month, clothes once every two months and financial assistance once every six months.

Cove House, 108 E. Halstead Ave., operates under similar guidelines, allowing families to receive food once a month.

“We give out 12 pounds of food per person,” said Benjamin Tindall, executive director of Cove House. “It is not going to last them the whole month, but it is a supplement.”

Both pantries mainly serve residents living near their facilities.

The Baptist Benevolence Ministry serves only those living in Copperas Cove and the surrounding countryside, McCrary said.

Cove House gives food to those living in Copperas Cove, Kempner, Fort Hood and Lampasas, Tindall said.


The Nolanville Food Pantry, 200 N. Main St., is open twice a month and averages about 100 families a visit.

“We have hit the 100 (recipient) mark, and actually a little more than 100 but sometimes it is a little less,” said Mary Faye McDonald, the director of the Nolanville pantry. “It is growing, and with the economy and food stamps being cut, it is hitting a lot of people.”

Like Cove House and the Baptist Benevolence Ministry, Nolanville’s pantry operates on donations.

“All our help is volunteers,” McDonald said. “We have been very blessed that we have kept up. We have some folks who are regular (donors).”

All three directors are worried the need for their pantry services will continue to grow, but said they will rise to the challenge.

“The need is great,” McCrary said. “People are trying to make it day to day and it is growing daily.”

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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