Anybody in need, who needs a holiday meal and company, is welcome to feast at the Portamento of Hope Café in Brandon, at 107 Mason Street, on Christmas, Day, from noon to 5 p.m.
“This event is for anyone who is need of a holiday meal, including the homeless, veterans, veterans and their families, residents in need or people who have no means and no family to celebrate with,” said volunteer Becky Coupe.
Coupe said she got involved so that she could “give more on the holiday.”
“I, too, have no extended family here for Christmas, so just to be out there in the community, helping others, will mean more to me than just sitting at home,” said Coupe, who plans to be serving meals with her husband, Rich Coupe. “The meaning of Christmas is what it is all about. It’s about giving to others.”
Coupe said her son, Scott Dozier, is a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Army, currently stationed in Arizona, with aviation intelligence. He and his family, a wife and three daughters, recently returned from a three-year assignment in Germany.
“It’s really hard not to see him for Christmas, it’s just not the same without him,” Coupe said. “I got to see them in Arizona, for the first time in three years, for Thanksgiving, so that was awesome. But I will miss seeing those little faces on Christmas morning.”
That’s not uncommon to hear from military families, who often are separated at the holidays.
“Especially the grandparents, who miss out on the joy of just having their grandchildren around,” Coupe said.
To fill the void, Coupe volunteers. She also is active with AMVETS Post 44 in Brandon.
“It makes me feel good to help veterans in any way, because my son could be in the same position as those here in our community, who don’t have family around,” Coupe said.
Portamento of Hope Café was founded by Lela Lilyquist, an advocate for the homeless, who serves as the cafe's director. Couple said Lilquist feeds people who are homeless fives days a week. Many of the homeless are veterans. “She’s a dynamic lady who cares about the homeless, working every day, trying to help,” Coupe said.
Donations are always needed, always welcome, “anything that can help the homeless living on the streets of Brandon,” Coupe said.
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