Whether it is participating in a food drive, cleaning up trash or repairing a fence, the spirit of altruism is alive and well in Bell and Coryell counties.
In Killeen, more than 5,180 volunteers from 41 agencies participated in 86 adopted projects throughout the city during Saturday’s Make A Difference Day.
More than 30 soldiers with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment donned orange vests and gloves and spent the morning picking up trash and debris along Clore and Lookout Ridge in Harker Heights.
“Make A Difference Day is the national day of doing good, and each year, thousands of Killeenites give of their time and talents to help others,” said Hillary
Shine, spokeswoman for the city. “People volunteer for different reasons and different causes, but the end result is improving our community.”
For Rose Marie Amian, shelter director for Option House Youth Center in Killeen, all the help and attention the shelter received are greatly appreciated.
“This day gives us the opportunity to utilize the communities’ support and advertise that we are here and that we are a safe place for teens to turn,” she said about the shelter that up to 15 children, ages 3 to 17, call home. “Having volunteers come out, shows the kids and teens here that people genuinely care about them and that it’s OK to receive and ask for help.”
Soldiers with the 36th Engineer Brigade helped spruce up flower beds, trim trees and revamp the landscaping, while soldiers with the 21st Cavalry Brigade reinforced the shelter’s fence and made repairs to the building. Girl Scout Troop 6166 organized several drives, including collecting combs and brushes to cleaning, beauty and birthday supplies.
“The unit went above and beyond,” said Heather Cox, activities director with the Parks and Recreation Department about Harker Heights’ Make A Difference Day volunteers who picked up trash.
“Hopefully, we inspired the people that drove past us today to think twice before throwing something out their window and to want to get involved.”
Bridging the gap and being active in the community is something the Brave Rifles soldiers take pride in.
“Harker Heights is one of (our) partnered communities, and we take that partnership very seriously. This is a relationship of mutual support and service,” said Col. Cameron Cantlon, the 3rd Cavalry commander. “This is our town, too, and the responsibility to improve it lies with all of its citizens.”
Despite overcast skies and occasional light drizzle, members of the Copperas Cove Exchange Club manned both entrances of the Copperas Cove Walmart collecting food and monetary donations for My Brother’s House Food Bank and the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen.
“(Make A Difference Day) is something the Exchange Club always does every year. We are part of the community, so we try to give back,” organizer Charles Lyons said.
Lolita Tart, a Copperas Cove resident, was volunteering for the first time with the food drive.
“It’s important that we make sure no one is starving. Some people don’t even know that there are food pantries in Cove,” Tart said.
“One can make a difference. If everyone gave just one can, we’d have plenty.”
Altrusa International of Copperas Cove donated more than 100 books to all Head Start programs in Copperas Cove. More than 100 volunteers from 30 organizations participated in Make A Difference Day by manning booths at the Parks and Recreation Department’s safe Halloween event held Saturday night.