Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty meet needs of Killeen’s homeless

Special to Leader-Press 

The Killeen homeless shelter operated by Friends in Crisis closed nearly two months ago with no permanent solution publicly announced. The Copperas Cove Five Hills royalty stepped up Saturday to help these residents living on the street.
With temperatures soaring into the upper 90s on Saturday, the titleholders braved the heat and stood in front of Walmart on Stan Schleuter Loop, while handing out needs lists for Killeen’s homeless living in tents on the grounds of the former shelter. 
Junior Miss Five Hills Hayley Sawyer’s platform of service during her yearlong reign is Hayley Helps the Homeless. She organized the collection drive. 
“Some people may not understand why the Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Program would want to help in the homeless in Killeen, but they need our help and I think we should help all those in need as much as possible,” the eight-year old said. “They are our friends and when our friends need help, we should always be there.” 
The collection drive resulted in eight grocery carts overflowing with supplies and more than $500 in cash that was used to purchase more supplies including sanitary items such as toothbrushes, toilet paper, mouthwash, bottled water and more. The items were delivered to the Moss Rose Community Center for distribution to those who were housed at the former shelter. 
“It was wonderful to see everyone being so generous and giving from their hearts to help the homeless,” the third grader said. “We collected so very much and I hope it helps them get what they need.” 
The royalty also collected plastic grocery bags and turned them into sleeping mats for the homeless in tents outside the shelter and throughout the city of Killeen. After watching a video and receiving some hands-on instruction, the royalty cut off the handles of the plastic bags, folded them accordion style and began weaving them together to create air-filled cushions that provide a more comfortable rest for those sleeping on the ground.
Junior Mister Five Hills Jackson Gibbs’ platform of service is Blessings in a Backpack, providing weekend meals for homeless students at his elementary school. He enjoyed making the mats and plans to make more for those in-need in Copperas Cove.
“It was cool learning how to make the mats,” the first grader said. “We can help the homeless and our planet at the same time.”
Gibbs donated the proceeds from his Lemonade Day lemonade stand to his school to purchase food for the backpack program. Sawyer donated the proceeds from her stand to the Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen and hosted a collection drive in June for the non-profit. She and the royalty will paint the fence line on the grounds of the soup kitchen later this month. 

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