KILLEEN, TX — A food pantry aimed at helping soldiers, veterans and first responders may have to close their doors if they don’t receive help.
The food bank at Operation Phantom Support helps feed thousands of our heroes every month, but those heroes might go hungry without the help of the community.
Operation Phantom Support is a nonprofit organization that is all about helping military families, first responders and veterans in need.
”We have free birthday cake program, Christmas toy program, backpack for school program, repair program, and tire replacement program and an adult special needs program. So, just a lot of things to kind of help families save money throughout the month and make their lives a little easier,” said founder John Valentine.
Out of all the different programs they have, it is the food pantry that provides the most help, but that might be ending soon.
”When COVID struck, we had to shut down just like everyone else, but that interrupted our revenue stream to the point that now if PPP doesn’t come through soon, we won’t have the funds to stay open,” said Operations Manager for Operation Phantom Support, Linda Valentine.
Due to COVID-19 and budget cuts, Operation Phantom Support has been operating at less than 40% of their usual income, all while trying to help the same number of families.
Even though it has been tough, they have stayed true to their mission. Those who run the pantry say they do it because this is all some families have to get them by.
”People who have tremendous need and they're not trying to take advantage of people. They're trying to survive and they're trying to do it the best way they can,” said Linda.
Some veterans who need the pantry say it would be devastating if the pantry had to close down.
“It’s a ripple in the pond kind of thing so, when one thing starts to happen, it’s going to happen all the way down the line. It just, it pains me to know that veteran support wouldn’t be there,” said Timothy Ferch, a veteran who uses the pantry.
Operation Phantom Support is asking any local businesses or people that can help keep food on the tables for these families to please contact them.