COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Holes in the walls, broken doors and lighting that's keeping everyone in the dark; veteran-run soup kitchen can't get to cooking without some expert help.
(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)
The Copperas Cove Soup Kitchen offers a hot meal Monday through Friday, twice a day for those in need.
But since the start of March, the kitchen has been closed as it tries to get its new location up and running.
“It needs help first before it can help somebody else,” says owner Patrick Richardson, a veteran who served in the Gulf War and a grandfather of seven.
“I would not in my life see my child or my grandchildren struggle, so I don't want to see that for anybody else.”
He's fresh from getting surgery but has no time for bed rest.
He walks through the halls of 501 North Main St, flipping light switches that don’t work.
“None of them control the light in here," he says.
"Let me show you what I have to do to turn the lights on in my kitchen," he adds as he climbs a chair from the corner and twists the fluorescent bulbs until they come on.
A former daycare center, the new soup kitchen is three times the size of the old location.
It has beds and plans for a laundry room with clothing and whatever guests may need to get back on their feet.
Volunteers have offered to help with the cleaning and clutter, but he really needs pros to handle tough jobs like unfinished floors and electrical work
“I have three types of cabinetry in one kitchen,” Richardson says, laughing at the mismatched cabinets and drawers that have been left unfinished.
Richardson even has plans for an outdoor kids’ corner where they can do homework and play on a fuse ball table.
He also wants to rebuild the community garden he had at the previous location on North 1st St.
“Tomatoes, squash, peppers,” he says.
“We cooked from our garden, and it was fresh, and it was good.”
The outdoor areas are only hopes until he can get holes in the fencing repaired and a landscaper to help out.
“I did have a timeline, but that's gone,” he said, laughing.
Richardson has been able to smile through his struggle while paying for repairs out of disability checks, and he's praying for a miracle to get the expert help it'll take to get back to feeding the masses.
“Jesus had a team; he had 12 apostles,” he says.
“I need a team. This has to be a community project; I can't do it all myself.”
If you are able to volunteer time and expertise, please contact Patrick Richardson at 254-661-0463.