A MESSAGE FROM
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO
What’s special about 77 days?
Ask any child who can count that high and they will tell you it’s that many days until Christmas!
Ask any mom or dad who doesn’t have enough money to pay the mortgage or rent this month and can’t imagine how they will possibly have enough 77 days from now to have food for the holidays or buy toys for their children.
At ACO, the countdown is on. Partly because our staff will be looking forward to a well-earned break by December 25th, but also because the last quarter of the year is always one of the busiest for our team as we feed hundreds of families with food for Thanksgiving, and distribute toys to over a thousand Collin County kids! The amount of work involved for these programs, the number of volunteer hours needed, and the support from the community for the donations to make it happen is immense.
While the next 77 days are the most stressful for many local families, and our staff will be worn out from the many hours they will put in and the physical work involved, it is also my favorite 77 days of the year.
So, why you ask? Think I’m crazy to enjoy all of that extra work and see the stress and despair on so many faces coming to ACO for help during this time? No, it’s because of the outpouring of support I see as our neighbors, friends and coworkers all come together to make this time special and joyful for these families who need our love and support the most. It is what the “giving season” is all about.
I have spent the last 20 Thanksgivings and Christmases sorting cans of pumpkin and yams, and boxing groceries for holiday meals. I have counted and bagged a million Barbies and Hot Wheels, books and games, and stood outside in the cold as our volunteers loaded the food and gifts into cars of grateful, and sometimes tearful, parents. I’ve been hugged by strangers who were so appreciative for what they received. I’ve received emails and thank you notes from both recipients and volunteers who said “thank you” for letting me be a part of your program.
Just last week, I ran into one of my favorite volunteers who was working at the warehouse sorting food. I have known him since my early days at ACO. His first words to me were “We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?”
I certainly agreed and we talked about the times that we had a single chest freezer, borrowed from Rodenbaugh’s for the season, to store donated turkeys. We laughed about piling bags of toys to the ceiling in the church fellowship hall where we had volunteers working in such a small space. While our work area is still small for now, and our warehouse space and freezers are still borrowed, we are managing to continue to serve growing numbers. The volunteers who have been with us for 20+ years and those who are recently joining us are just as important, and so are the donations we receive.
We are serving hundreds of Collin County families in need of help. And for those families, the next 77 days are critical.
Below is more information about our holiday programs and how you can get involved. More details can be found on our website, www.acocares.org.
Your volunteer time, your food and toy donations, and your financial gifts are vital to ACO and the Collin County families who are counting the days and counting on us for much needed help. Thank you for always joining hands with ACO.
One More Thing…
85 days until 2022! In the coming 12 weeks, let’s work together to make this holiday season the brightest and best in light of all that we’ve been through the past 24 months.
Let’s see those smiles on faces of relieved parents to whom we provide plenty of food to feed their children.
Let’s celebrate the joy and laughter of happy children when they receive new toys and gifts for Christmas. Be a giver!
Let’s be proud of what we will accomplish in the 77 days ahead!
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO