Bethesda Fellowship helping 600 families with Operation Holiday Uplift

By DAVID J. HARDIN 
Cove Leader-Press 

Operation Holiday Uplift is in full swing as members of the Bethesda Fellowship Ministries Church in Copperas Cove as well as students from Killeen area high schools and the Law Enforcement Explorers from the Copperas Cove Police Department came together over the weekend to help package food boxes for families in need.
Operation Holiday Uplift was started by the church 10 years ago, and each year the effort has grown. It helped 50 families in its first year and in 2016, helped 200. 
Bishop Dr. R. Ray Gatewood is the Senior Pastor at the Bethesda Fellowship Ministries Church.
“When Operation Holiday Uplift (OHU) began our goal was simply to have our membership involved in helping during the holidays. Eventually we adopted the area and our partnership with other entities, which gave us the ability to serve more people.”
This year’s Operation Holiday Uplift will be the largest in its history, taking place just prior to Thanksgiving and continuing until just prior to Christmas.
Carmen Rivera is the coordinator for this year’s Operation Holiday Uplift, and has been attending the Bethesda Fellowship Church for 20 years. She has been involved with this event for 10 years. 
“This year we will be helping 600 families with these food boxes, the most ever,” Rivera said.
Phase I volunteers packed boxes on Saturday for about 300 families. Yesterday, they added frozen turkeys to the boxes, after which the boxes were sealed prior to delivery to various identified areas of Copperas Cove, to include Casa, Sunset, Horseshoe Drive, and the Copperas Cove Housing Authority. 
Phase II of Operation Holiday Uplift kicks off on Sunday, December 17, when once again, volunteers will pack boxes with food and on Monday December 18, will add frozen turkeys to these boxes and seal them. Then, 300 more boxes will be delivered, also to the Casa, Sunset, Horseshoe Drive areas, and Copperas Cove Housing Authority.
Malcolm White-Sago has been attending the Bethesda Fellowship Church for six years and volunteered with the effort. 
“Helping out with this event has been fun to me. Being able to provide for families and doing something good for others is always a great thing.”
Jaylyn Capito is a senior at Harker Heights High School, and attends Bethesda Fellowship Church. “I wanted to be able and do something to help the community, and it feels good to help others,” she said.
Tarek Coleman is a senior at Shoemaker High School.  “I wanted to give back to the community, and it has been a good an interesting process.”
Tina Capito is the President of Educated Angels, a local non-profit organization which has been helping others for six years. 
“We have many organizations that we would like to help with and this year our organization decided to assist with Operation Holiday Uplift,” Capito said.

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