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Sunday, 26 November 2017 14:24

Season of Giving SG-VHV Thanksgiving Bag Giveaway

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The season of giving thanks and reaching out to help locals in need was in full swing at the headquarters of Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans on Saturday morning, November 18, 2017 as the volunteer community service organization distributed more than 400 bags filled with the trimmings for a Thanksgiving dinner, along with turkeys.
Remarks were made prior to the kick­off by Jonathan Haywood, SG-VHV presi­dent, Copperas Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood, CCISD superintendent Joe Burns, as well as Ramona Bellard, Executive Officer of the Killeen Independent School District.

Mr Haywood thanked the businesses and individuals who stepped up to help fund the baskets. He said
“Today our kids, our families, our com­munities are being blessed. Every year we say this, but again today we are going to prove there are no boundaries between our kids, there are no community lines that divide us.
Adding that the first 200 baskets are going to the HARP programs at CCISD and KISD. Those programs assist stu­dents and their families who have been identi­fied as homeless. Dr. Burns said in CCISD, there are 185 stu­dents who are affected and aren’t living under their own roofs, but either with family and friends, or otherwise. Ms. Bellard indicated more than 1,000 KISD students are af­fected.
Dr. Burns in turn thanked SG-VHV for their presence in the local community. “Anywhere there is good being done, SGVHV is in the middle of it,” Burns said. “Their Volunteers do a tremendous job. They just give until they can’t give anymore and are able to generously give because of what people give to them. “It’s important to us because we see so many families that when school is out, they lose the ability to have a hot meal every day. So some of our kids go home and the last hot meal they’ll have is the one they get before they go home for Thanksgiving, and the first hot meal is the one they get when they go back to school after Thanksgiv­ing holiday...There’s some folks living in tough times right now.”

Mayor Frank Seffrood expressed his thanks to SG-VHV and talked about how efforts to help others in the community have grown over the years. “Years ago, we didn’t have what we have now,” Seffrood said, sharing about times when he was the food drive chairman for the local postal union. He stated after time passed he was able to start collecting cash dona­tions and canned goods at the local Walmart store, and how the ini­tiative grew each year. “Like with Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans which started with a small nucleus,” Mayor Seffrood said. “The community needs help, and we are the com­munity. Communities don’t have city limits, because then you limit what you have to work with. I’m sure glad we don’t have limits that apply to Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans. I came from the poor, so I know what it’s like to want somebody to help. That be­ing said, I’ll help now.

“Haywood said the num­ber of baskets assembled was due to the Premier Corporate Sponsors: PSCI, J R Herring Rentals/Century 21 Copperas Cove, National United Bank, Linnenman Realty, Ted Smith Law Group PLLC, Scott’s Funeral Home, All American Chevrolet and AFGE Local 1920/District 10 along with donations from groups and individuals, adding that this year, the Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors donated 150 tur­keys this year. Additionally, a vendor from the Clear Creek Commissary made a $1,500 donation, which came in handy after the group did its calculations on Tuesday and Wednesday to see what they still needed to fill the baskets. He also thanked Sam’s Club, Scott’s Fu­neral Home, Refresh Spa, Walmart, PCSI, National United Bank, Operation Phantom Support, along with donors like one elderly man, who Mr. Haywood spoke with his daughter and son-in-law prior to accepting his donation, because Hay­wood wanted to make sure no one thought the group was taking advantage of anyone. “We’re not takers, we’re givers,” Haywood said. “If you start taking, you can’t get your bless­ings.”
More than half of the meeting room was filled with bags of red and navy blue, with groups of bags sorted by colors and labeled for their final destinations for AFGE Union, DAV 29, Fort Hood Chapels, Harker Heights Vet Center, CCISD HARP program, Ft. Hood Communities In Schools, KISD KILLEEN/Harker Heights/Nolanville HARP program, Lil Tex Restau­rant, SG-VHV Individual Recipents, the Copperas Cove Soup Kitch­en, WIC, The Little Yellow House, Women Army Corp, and Jesus Hope Ministry Shelter. These businesses and entities then, in turn, distribute the bags to those families who’ve already been identified as needing a hand for Thanksgiving.

Then the distribution began with individuals and families lined up around the building there to collect their Thanksgiving bags & Turkeys. All the youth were given candy canes as they came through the door, near the SGVHV Christmas tree. Continental breakfast was offered in the back for those who wanted something to eat.

Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans volunteers worked diligently to ensure everyone received their Thanksgiving bags and turkeys to start the holiday with a smile.

Next up Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans boots will hit the ground in full force as the focus will be on the children, as we start collecting gifts for children & staff at Sunshine Head Start for Christmas, as well as purchasing toys for the children named on the Cop­peras Cove Soup Kitchen Tree, obtaining items needed for Killeen Jesus Hope homeless shelter and other organizations in need.

Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans also thanks all the citizens who made donations. And all our members who sacrificed their time, talents and financial support.

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