By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

KEMPNER – The Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter in Copperas Cove felt the effects of the dwindling economy in 2008, Executive Director Cynthia Livingston said at Thursday's annual meeting.

The Christian-based homeless shelter and food pantry saw an increase of more than 2,000 people served last year compared with 2007, Livingston said.

"The demand for food has gone up greatly and it affects the people who have the least the most," Dennis Webster, chairman of the Cove House board, said. "We at the Cove House deal with the people who have the least."

According to the 2008 annual report, Cove House distributed nearly 100,000 pounds of food, served 7,436 people and provided shelter for 436 people, 87 of whom were military veterans.

The majority of people served were from Copperas Cope, but some also came from Kempner, Lampasas and Fort Hood.

Livingston said the most common complaint last year was job loss.

"I heard a lot of people saying they just lost their job, or their husband lost his job," Livingston said. "Everybody's felt that crunch."

Fortunately, the shelter was able to keep up with the increased demand through an outpouring of community support, Livingston said.

"People in our community have been stepping forward and meeting the need by donating money and food," she said. "We've gotten many donations from unexpected sources just because they knew so many people were hurting financially."

The Cove House holds two fundraising events every year – a golf tournament and a bicycle tour. Last year's events raised about $15,000, Livingston said.

This year the golf tournament takes place on April 4, and the bicycle tour is held on the third Saturday of August.

The shelter is holding a food drive throughout February. Canned or boxed food can be brought to the Cove House at 108 E. Halstead Ave. in Copperas Cove.

Contact Rebecca LaFlure at or (254) 501-7475.

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