Refuge Corporation, volunteers distribute Thanksgiving baskets

By PAMELA GRANT
Cove Leader-Press

The Refuge Corporation helped make Thanksgiving a little brighter for hundreds of families this year.
The Refuge Corporation held its 23rd Annual Community-Wide Thanksgiving Basket Benefit on Tuesday at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. More than 500 families received Thanksgiving baskets. Baskets included a turkey, rice, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, canned yams, and more.
The baskets were distributed to families and individuals screened and referred by churches and local non-profit agencies.
“I think it’s so wonderful…This is a great thing. I look around and I see all these people, and I am so gracious in my heart to see this opportunity for people to be able to get food,” said Wardell Stewart. “I think it’s a great thing, and I pray that it keeps going. God bless the people who donated.”
Joseph Solomon, Executive Director for The Refuge Corporation, said that they distributed about 25,000 pounds of food at the event.
“This is an effort of the entire community…We are so glad to serve in this capacity,” said Solomon. “I think it’s important to be thankful for what we have in life and to be able to help someone else too.”
Solomon said that it was important to him to do his best to make sure that he could help make sure people could have a happy Thanksgiving with friends and family. Along with doing their best to make sure people have food for Thanksgiving, the Refuge Corporation also has a mobile food pantry that distributes food throughout the year. Solomon estimated that they’ve given out more than 25,000 pounds of food already this year.
“I think it’s important for everybody to do what they can,” said Solomon. “It makes us feel happier to make someone else feel happier…I believe that all of us have been given the opportunity to help someone else.”
Along with the Thanksgiving baskets given away at the event, Perfect Praise Learning Center donated coats and jackets to be given to those who needed one. Children and adults alike were excited to receive the new coats, many smiling and admiring themselves.
“We saw so many people who didn’t have coats,” said Ramona Johnson with Perfect Praise Learning Center about why they decided to do the giveaway. “We wanted to give them some nice coats…People need to be warm.”
Tuesday’s Thanksgiving event was only possible thanks to the kindness of the community. Many donated food and money leading up to the event and dozens more volunteered their time helping out during Tuesday’s basket benefit. Volunteers helped escort people during the event and even helped load items into the cars of the recipients should they so desire.
Solomon said that he was especially grateful to the many soldiers and veterans who helped out the day of the event as well as the two days prior to it.
“We’re very grateful and thankful that we are able to serve the community,” said Dollie Rountree. “We volunteer every year to do this so that we can show the love of God to the community.
“This isn’t a hand out. This is a helping hand,” emphasized Cheryl Gary, a volunteer at the event.

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