Cove House holds annual banquet
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Supporters of Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter gathered on Tuesday evening for its annual fundraising banquet to hear the shelter’s accomplishments of the year and hear from shelter residents about the impact it has had on their lives.
Brian Hawkins, Cove House’s executive director, talked about the shelter’s initiatives that include the emergency shelter, its transitional housing program, as well as the free clinic, now in its fifth year.
As far as the free clinic is concerned, Hawkins said this year it is on track to see 2,000 patients.
“On Tuesday nights we do our general clinic, and on Thursday nights we have a women’s health clinic. We have started seeing great numbers with that. We are looking for opportunities to continue to expand services and expand our hours of operation,” said Hawkins. “Without the money you help us raise tonight, we can’t do that. Two thousand people who needed medical attention…let that sink in. Two thousand people who either weren’t going to get it at all, or were going to an ER somewhere and incur a huge debt over that.”
He acknowledged the donation by Metroplex Hospital through in-kind donations and providing the building the free clinic uses.
“They also for those 2,000 patients have paid for all the blood work, all the lab, and all the x-rays they needed to diagnose their issues. Without Metroplex, we couldn’t do this either.”
Hawkins shared that in its first year, the clinic saw 287 patients, and that from last November’s 1,000 patients seen, that number doubled in 2018.
He said that the shelter has shifted its mindset a little bit to a different focus.
“We are helping people stay off the street, not just get off the street. We don’t want to just give them a place to spend one night. We want to help them for a period of time, to get a job, get back on their feet, and move forward.”
At that banquet were several of the shelter’s residents, whom Hawkins said wanted to attend because they wanted to show their appreciation for the support.
Among them was Felicia Moore, who shared her own thoughts along with scriptures which have seen her through tough times, to include peace, comfort, and encouragement.
“I thank God that he allowed me to be in Cove House. Even though I’m homeless, I’m not homeless, because there’s people that are helping out. It gave me peace of mind. I’ve got my own bed. I can be me and take care of me and listen to God’s voice, and focus on the things I should have been in the past, but I didn’t. To God be the glory.”
In addition to the shelter and free clinic, Cove House’s transitional housing program, which is a longer-term aid for those leaving the shelter to get back into apartments or homes. Residents of the eight-plex apartment building receive budget counseling and pay a reduced rent while they save up the deposits needed to rent their own apartments or homes.
Cove House’s board chairman, Kevin Keller, thanked the shelter’s volunteers, people like Ellie Bocanegra.
“I have never signed a paycheck for her, but I probably should, as many hours as she spends at the Cove House,” said Keller. He also recognized Lisa White, director of the free clinic, which has a lineup of 50 volunteers overall, and the staff of Cove House to include receptionist Darla Tuiasosopo, office manager Teressa Hawkins, and Brian Hawkins, executive director.
Keller also shared the mission and vision statements of the homeless shelter, “to provide for the needy, empower the poor, all for the glory of God,” and that “Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter is to be a loving and compassionate place where the gospel of Jesus Christ is boldly and shamelessly proclaimed. Our mission is for everyone in Copperas Cove and the surrounding area to have sufficient shelter, food and employment, clothing and healthcare. Our desire is for Cove House to be a place where an individual can have their health, educational, and emotional needs met all in the name of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.”
Cove House is overseen by a board of directors, consisting of board chair Kevin Keller and members Kissa Vaughn, Rita Hogan, Pat Thomas, Bob Crouch, and Clarence Enochs.
Drawings were held throughout the evening for items donated by Cove House supporters and local businesses, as well as a live auction, with a Yeti cooler and cups set going for $750. A set of four Dallas Cowboys tickets for the Dec. 23 home game are also being raffled off with the winner to be drawn on Dec. 15.