KILLEEN, Texas — Killeen-based nonprofit Operation Phantom Support is close to closing its doors for good.
For the past 9-years, the local non-profit has been dedicated to serving the needs of active-duty military, veterans, first responders and their families.
Service OPS volunteer Tim Ferch has been on both sides.
”You always need some kind of support,” said Ferch.
“Whether it’s in your head, whether it’s in your muscles, in your bones or whatever, you need something, and this place has all that support.”
Now that service might be coming to an end due to a lack of monthly donations to cover expenses.
”At one point, we had 2,000 donors,” said John Valentine, founder and CEO of Operation Phantom Support.
“Now, we’re down to less than 500 monthly donors. So, when you go from 2,000 monthly donors, that were donating $20 a month, to less than 500, that’s a significant difference in the money you’re bringing in every month.”
Whether it’s their Infinite Possibilities Program for people with special needs, their food pantry, or the thrift store, it all takes money and right now, they're only bringing in about half of what they need.
For them it’s not about the money, it’s about those who will lose access to things like their food pantry if they are forced to close.
”We average about 42,000 people that walk through our doors to get help every year,” said Valentine.
“Active-duty military, veterans, first responders and their families, and that includes some civilians that come in once a month. For the most part, out of that 42,000, 80% of those are military.”
Ferch who went from needing help from OPS to now actively volunteering with them has but one message for Central Texas.
”Just come out, come out and experience it,” said Ferch.
“Give it a shot and you’re going to like and if you like it, you will come back but, it doesn’t survive without you.”
Operation Phantom Support has spent close to a decade helping the community and now, they need the community’s help.