COPPERAS COVE — Crowds of shoppers in Cove got the perfect combination this weekend — their favorite gifts while supporting a charitable cause.

Shoppers were elbow-to-elbow rummaging through tables that lined the walls and ran down the center of the floor of the fellowship hall at Grace United Methodist Church.

Eager buyers searched for holiday gifts at the second annual Christmas Store to benefit Cove House families.

Ana Maria Serrano has three boys, ages 9-14, for whom she is trying to provide a little bit of Christmas.

“The Cove House already helps us out with food every month along with anything else we need like a microwave and pans. They are always there for us,” Serrano said. “These gifts make it possible to get a little something for all of the kids.”

The gifts were affordable, with prices ranging from 50 cents to $3.

Mary Claire Huslage, who organizes the event, said the event is not a fundraiser for Cove House.

“This event is to empower families to be able to choose their own gifts,” Huslage said. “Several groups give gifts to the parents to give their kids. But, here they actually get to pick out the gifts.”

She said planning for the Christmas store begins in July.

“We start working with our schools and Fort Hood youth centers who really step up to make this event happen,” Huslage said. “The Girl Scouts and nearly every church in Cove also do toy drives for the event.”

The goal is to fill a semi-tractor trailer with toy donations for the event.

Hulage said this year, the truck was three-quarters full.

“We are definitely closer to our goal,” she said. “(The Christmas store) is twice as large as it was last year.”

This year’s event offered free gift wrapping by the Girl Scouts mentored by the Copperettes, the Cove High School dance team. Huslage said more changes are already being planned for next year’s store.

“We will definitely move to another venue — maybe the civic center,” she said. “We really want to have an area that offers coffee and hot chocolate where people can sit down and be prayed with and prayed for. That is the one thing that we are really missing from this year’s event.”

Contact Wendy Sledd at or (254) 501-7476

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