It’s a generous community that continuously makes sure that families that have fallen on hard times have the food, clothes and supplies to make sure children are equipped for school.
The Killeen Independent School District administers its Homeless Awareness and Response Program to identify and assist students and their family members in need. More than 500 students currently qualify for services under federal guidelines.
As part of the mission to assist, HARP maintains a food pantry and a community clothes closet. Donations are always needed. Entering into the holiday season, new socks and underwear and size 8 to 10 boys jeans are among the big needs.
“This community is unbelievably giving,” said Phyllis Rosen, the school district administrator who oversees HARP. “I get calls from people, from businesses, from churches,” she said, listing several faithful donors. There are also school groups that host drives to benefit the effort.
The Harker Heights High School girls track team packaged food boxes, including frozen turkeys for 125 identified families for the Thanksgiving holiday. “It was an amazing experience for the girls to give a helping hand to those less fortunate,” said track coach Rachael Hood.
There is also need for food boxes for the Christmas holiday and spring break and emergency food boxes.
The school district’s HARP program provides five outfits, shoes, coats and other goods for each student meeting the guidelines for homelessness and their immediate family members.
The KISD Community Clothes Closet is located at 601 East Rancier Drive in Killeen. It is open 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday when school is in session.
For seven years, the Wednesday Review Club has sorted, washed and organized clothes and provided volunteers to assist families at the clothes closet.
In addition to children’s clothes, the pantry provides clothing for parents and younger siblings not yet in school. Major needs include girls tops and jackets, boys’ jeans and children’s shoes size 1 to 5.
Cash donations are welcomed. Shoppers purchase needed items for clients. Checks can be made out to HARP. The HARP number is 254-336-0372.
All clothes and food recipients receive vouchers from their child’s school in KISD. Volunteers assist each client with picking out clothes. Families can shop through the closet once each semester.
Kathy Abilez is the volunteer coordinator for the review club’s clothes closet effort. She’s been volunteering there seven years. “What I’ve seen more and more is that a lot of people are in need of help,” she said. “I’m glad we can help them.”
She agreed with Rosen that the community is continuously generous. “Lots of groups, businesses and churches donate,” she said. “Donations are needed all the time. This community is generous. Many people give regularly.”