A MESSAGE FROM
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO
I’m in love!
Yes, I am in love and it’s no secret. It’s with YOU! It’s with our staff, our donors, our volunteers and our community who come together to love and support each other. I love our cities. I love our residents. I love who we are!
Last month I had to share some difficult news with you. ACO was in need of funds. While we remain on a solid foundation, the past 18 months we have increased our financial support to families in Collin County who were struggling with rent and utilities. Just this year in 2021, we were on track to assist with an additional $400K to insure that our residents remained in their homes and stayed warm or cool with electricity, water and other essentials.
Then there is the thousands of pounds of food going out the door. And the students lining up for GED seats in our virtual classroom and in-person tutoring. There are many hours that our staff is spending assisting with resumé development and job search to get people back to work. All of this stretched our budget and the dollars were slow to come in over the summer months as we promoted our annual GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE campaign. I had to ask for your help.
And here is why I love you… You joined hands with ACO and donations began to increase. By the end of the campaign last month we had surpassed our goal. Each and every time we reach out to our community for support, you give with your heart. You are amazing and I thank you.
I sat in our Goal Setting Workshop held a few weeks ago with eight individuals who were ready to get their lives on a better track. They spent the day with our staff and trained volunteers as they listed their personal and professional goals, worked on their interview skills and wrote their resumés. They left at the end of the day armed with the tools they needed to improve their lives. Several have come into our lab for extended work to brush up on their skills. This is all a part of our Working Families Success Model that we began to implement pre-COVID, and now it’s gearing back up to strengthen a path for families to gain financial stability and employment.
I see the numbers each week of the families that are using the benefits of our ACO Cares Center. They are coming weekly or monthly to get the necessities they need and cannot afford. Diapers, cleaning products, linens and bedding, clothing, school supplies, dishes and cookware, etc. are all available at no fee. Families are given credit on their Cares Card to shop and make their selections at no charge, but by having a set amount to “spend” at the Cares Center they are learning valuable budgeting and planning skills.
Perhaps most concerning, and even heartbreaking are the continued increase in the number of cars that line up three days each week for groceries at the ACO Food Pantry. Thankfully with our partnerships of our grocery retailers, the food bank and the support of community food drives we can continue to give away fresh produce, dairy and meats, and pantry staples. We are going into the holiday season and soon that need will increase even more so.
I tell you all of this to show you examples of the impact that your donations are making. Your financial gifts make it possible to provide quality programs and emergency services to prevent hunger and homelessness. Your donations of clothing and household items through the ACO Processing Center keep our ACO Cares Center stocked with the essentials that families need and our resale stores stocked with items that our customers look forward to- which turn those proceeds into more programs
I also tell you this to remind you that our summer campaign ended, but not the need for your support. That is ongoing. The families who continue to struggle- our neighbors, our friends, our coworkers- who we may not even realize are facing critical challenges, all need you. They also love you and our community for embracing them in their deepest times of need.
North Texas Giving Day is coming up on September 23rd, but the link for donations is already open. Please remember ACO when making your gifts to North Texas charities. Remember we are a county-wide service. The link is northtexasgivingday.org
I am in love. It’s been a love affair with ACO and our communities for more than the 20 years that I have lived in Collin County and worked at this amazing organization. It is my heart. YOU are in my heart and I am forever grateful. Please continue to join hands with ACO!
One More Thing…
You hear from me each month. I run into people around town and they comment that they know who I am because they see my photo with my email messages. But I am only one face of the many dedicated leaders that you have at ACO. We have officers and directors on staff that are giving their hearts to help our community. We have managers and staff who work behind the scenes to ensure that the work gets done. And we have a Board of Directors that are second to none in their commitment to our mission! I love each and every one of our leadership team and staff.
See our list of many of them on our website at acocares.org/about-us/our-team.
I don’t say that often enough, but I do love and appreciate everyone! You are all my very heart and soul.
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO