Bethesda Fellowship Church completes phase 2 of Operation Holiday Uplift

By DAVID J. HARDIN
Cove Leader-Press

Monday’s rain and cold did not stop several dozen members of Bethesda Fellowship Ministries Church of Copperas Cove from bringing the holiday spirit of giving to people in need. 
They visited the neighborhoods of Casa Drive, Sunset Lane, Phil Avenue, Avenue B and Horseshoe Drive to deliver boxes filled with perishable food items and a frozen turkey just in time for Christmas.
Operation Holiday Uplift was started by the church 10 years ago, and each year the effort has grown. It helped 50 families in the first year, and last year they delivered food boxes to 200 families. 
With this year’s operation, 600 boxes were delivered to families who were in need this holiday season.
Bishop R. Ray Gatewood is the Senior Pastor of Bethesda Fellowship Ministries Church. 
“We are really happy with the number of families and people we were able to help this year, and we could not done it without the help of members of our church as well as all of the civic organizations, the Copperas Cove Police Department and their Explorers, Copperas Cove Housing Authority, Tina Capito and the Educated Angels non-profit organization, and students from Harker Heights and Shoemaker High Schools.
“This has been a huge success; we have gone back and revisited some of the areas we delivered to in phase 1, and those people come up to us and say thank you, you have helped and we really needed it. 
“Our goal is to help especially during the holidays; everyone is happy and joyous, but there are families who could use a little bit of help.”
Aviyon Wilborn has been going to the church since she was little, “I love coming out here and being able to help others,” said Wilborn.
Corey Cooks also attends the church, “It is amazing to go out and help others, to help the unfortunate. We take pride in helping put the Lord out there because Jesus in the reason for the season.” 
Sergeant Kevin Miller is with the Copperas Cove Police Department who helped with the box distribution, as did several LEEP cadets. 
“We are really happy to help the Bethesda Church with delivering these meals. We had three officers plus myself and three Explorers helping deliver the holiday meals, and they will be taking the extra boxes to people who they know can use them.”
During phase 1, members of the church and volunteers from the community packed 300 boxes with perishable food items and a frozen turkey, with the boxes delivered just before Thanksgiving to the same neighborhoods.
During Phase 2, 300 more boxes were prepared and delivered once again to the same areas.
The operation came about in coordination with members of the Bethesda Fellowship Ministries Church, the Copperas Cove Police Department, members of the CCPD’s Law Enforcement Explorer Program, the Copperas Cove Housing Authority, as well as high school students from Harker Heights and Shoemaker High School, and the non-profit organization Educated Angels.

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