Church, local motorcycle club hold canned food drive for soup kitchen
By BRITANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen received a much-needed donation of canned and dry goods following as food drive and motorcycle ride held Saturday morning by the Christian Freedom Ministries and the Riders With Christ.
Riders from Gatesville, Copperas Cove and Killeen and nearby areas brought food items with them as they showed up for the second annual 100-mile charity motorcycle ride hosted by Christian Freedom Ministries.
Registration began at 9 a.m. with a kickstand up time of 10 a.m.
Associate Pastor Troy Carter explained that 100 percent of the items and money donated goes directly to the soup kitchen.
“Everything we’re doing here is just to support and give back,” Carter said.
The church, located in Suite 340 in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center, has a collection container in front of the church’s doors for collecting canned and dry goods whenever the church is open and drops off donations year-round, he added.
“Last year, we said we wanted to do something that’s going to be big and since we already have a bike ministry, which is Riders with Christ, we said ‘Listen, let’s have a bike run,’” Carter said. “We’ve seen the toy runs and this and that and different events. We said ‘Hey, let’s support our Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen by having a ride, having people bring canned goods and monetary donations and helping with that.’”
The response to the first year was excellent, he added. This year saw dozens of riders attend as well, with some from the Copperas Cove VFW Post #8577, the Highway 2 Heaven Biker Church in Gatesville, the Chrome Cruzers Motorcycle Club in Killeen and more as well as those with the Riders with Christ group.
“This is an honor,” Carter said. “For us to do this, I think it’s really big and it shows that, hey listen, we care about others more so than we do ourselves. Our motto is actually ‘We’re here to serve and not be served.’”
Carter added that the church doors will never close as long as God allows one person to come in.
“That’s our whole mission- our whole mission is to serve people, serve the community, serve God first, so everything that we do is just in care of others,” he said.
Saturday’s food drive raised a car trunk full of canned and dry goods for the soup kitchen. Carter estimated that yearly the church’s congregation collects more than 1,000 pounds of food.
Pastor McCaulter Jackson III shared that the church’s motorcycle chapter, Riders with Christ, came about in 2005 from a need to be able to meet people where they are at.
“Because there’s such a bad persona out there about motorcycle groups, we decided to come together and we feel that the Lord called us to go, to meet people, in order to meet people who needed Him, we had to look like them,” Jackson said.
Through Riders with Christ, Jackson said the riders are able to spread the word about Jesus but also use it for others’ outreach ministries.
“It’s all about being one in Christ,” he said. “It’s not [about] difference. We’re working together for His good.”
“It’s funny because the Lord has showed him that the motorcycle is another podium for the ministry,” Carter said. “Because when we drive up on a motorcycle, people say ‘You’re the pastor?’”
Jackson said that people in the religious community question a pastor riding a motorcycle as well.
“I don’t care what the religious community thinks because my purpose is to be like Jesus and Jesus reached those who were lost,” Jackson said. “In order for light to get rid of darkness, light has to go into darkness…so we have to go where the darkness is.”
Carter added that they have gone into the clubs and bars and have held bible studies in the bars.
The negative stereotype associated with motorcycle clubs is one Leonard Faulkner is aware of as well. Faulkner has been riding motorcycles for more than 27 years and has been with the Chrome Cruzers Motorcycle Club of Killeen for 11 years.
“We call ourselves a family,” Faulkner said. “When we get a chance, we like to go ride.”
They like to have “good, clean fun,” he added.
“Everybody for some reason figures motorcycle clubs are motorcycle gangs,” Faulkner said. “We’re not a gang. We’re a motorcycle club. As I said, we’re not out here trying to fight nobody. We’re not out here trying to tear stuff up. When we go out, we go to different places and just have a good time.”
The club holds a back to school event every year and assists families in need, he added.
“We just want to try to give back to the community,” Faulkner said. “I ran into the pastor and we’re always looking to help. When he told me about this, and I told a couple guys who didn’t have to work, we came out here.”
This ride marked the first time Faulkner and other members of the Chrome Cruzers had participated in the Christian Freedom Ministries and Riders with Christ food drive and motorcycle ride, but Faulkner said he would definitely be back next year.
“We enjoy riding,” Faulkner said. “We enjoy the fellowship.”
Before the riders began their journey, Jackson led the group in prayer.
Volunteers in four cars successfully blocked traffic both ways on Ave D as the dozens of motorcycles, led by Jackson, turned left out of the Cove Terrace Shopping Center parking lot and headed towards 1st Street to begin their 100-mile route that would take them north on F.M. 116 to Gatesville, where they would turn left on Hwy 84 to Evant and then hit 181 South to Lampasas before returning to Copperas Cove.
Several riders had agreed beforehand that they would meet up at the Biker Weekend car and bike show held at the Cove Church of the Nazarene after they arrived back in town.