Star Group – Veterans Helping Veterans holds annual Thanksgiving basket distribution
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Star Group Veterans Helping Veterans gave away more than 500 turkeys and bas of fixings during its annual Thanksgiving Basket distribution Saturday morning.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, the number of people inside the group’s headquarters was limited to representatives from different community organizations and businesses only, instead of the actual families who will receive the baskets. Each person entering the building was submitted to a brief questionnaire and temperature check.
More than 500 bags were distributed over the weekend, with CCISD receiving 50 bags and Killeen ISD (which covers Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville) receiving 150 bags to go to students in need.
Each family received a turkey plus a bag with cans of corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, yams, cornbread mix, cake mix, frosting, gravy mix, rice and potatoes.
Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans received several donations Saturday morning as well. Teri Spears presented the group two checks totaling $550, on behalf of Educated Angels and The Sun Powers My Home LLC. The Fort Hood Area Association of Realtors presented the group with a check for $5,500.
Executive Director Sheila Timmons said she was shocked when she saw the amount. She said the FHAAR has donated previously but normally does a lower amount.
After the presentations and donations, Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans handed the first “official” Thanksgiving bag to CCISD Superintendent Joe Burns, who passed it to Killeen ISD Superintendent John Craft to represent the partnership between Copperas Cove and Killeen.
In years past, the SG-VHV has given away between 300 and 400 bags of food during their Thanksgiving Basket distribution.
Timmons said this year, the group felt it was even more important to make sure families got a Thanksgiving meal, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Star Group cut back on gatherings due to many members being in the higher-risk group for COVID-19, according to Timmons.
The group still wanted to help out the community though, and in May, members wore their masks and put together bags full of disposable and reusable masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and more for their sponsors and donors to put out at their places of business and even gave some items to the city of Copperas Cove for city employees to use. Star Group-VHV also gathered 1500 packs of baby wipes to give to the Darnall Army Medical Center after finding out there was a shortage of wipe supplies.
With the Thanksgiving baskets, the group had to figure out the best and safest way to help the community still.
“We felt there was more need this time than ever before, and so that’s why we were trying to do that- we were going to make that happen if we didn’t make anything else happen this year. That was going to happen,” Timmons said. “It’s more for kids, not that adults don’t need the food, but when kids get to see that it just touches our heart.”
She said that in previous years, when the kids would come through, they were so excited to see the vast amounts of food. Timmons said she definitely missed seeing the families come through to pick up their food and seeing their reactions this year.
“If we can give them any hope or anything with what’s going on right now in our country, if it’s a meal that will make them happy, then that’s the least that Star Group could do,” Timmons said. “When I think back to the beginning when Mr. [Jonathan] Haywood started the group, that’s all they wanted was to feed people and see the smiles that they got from having a meal, so it’s been that way since it first started with seven guys.”
Other organizations receiving bags to distribute to families in need included the Fort Hood Realtors Association, Bring Everyone in the Zone, AFGE 1920, Vet Center, DAV 29, the Soup Kitchen, FH Chapels, WIC, WAC, Jesus Hope Ministry, Lil’ Tex Restaurant, PCSI, JR Rentals and Century 21 in Copperas Cove, Central Texas College, the city of Copperas Cove, AFGE District 10, Oliver Transmission, All American Chevrolet and VFW Post #919. The Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans also gave 60 bags to premier corporate sponsors and 40 bags to SGVHV and Call Insurance to distribute.