A CRITICAL MESSAGE FROM
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO
This is a message that no one wants to write. But I have to share with you some critical information about ALL COMMUNITY OUTREACH.
In the heat of August, with school starting, children may be sleeping in hot cars at night or living on friends’ and families’ couches if they’ve lost their homes due to financial hardship. Those who are able to remain in their house or apartment can’t pay their utilities and are at risk of having their water or electricity disconnected.
Even worse, the end to the eviction moratorium is nearing, and many will be facing homelessness with nowhere to go. The lines of cars waiting for free food/groceries at the ACO Food Pantry continues to show a great need in our community. We are seeing families in dire situations with no end yet in sight.
Each year during the summer months ACO holds our annual giving campaign to support local families in crisis. Unfortunately I have to report that our 2021 GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE campaign is failing.
This was the first time we’ve extended our campaign mailing area to cover most of Collin County. I had high hopes that this would increase donations and our success for this campaign would surpass our hopes. With just a few weeks to go, we are only half way to our goal.
We’ve received grants awarded for emergency services from utility companies and some local foundations. While a wonderful added bonus to help local residents, it went quickly. We have referred families to all local resources available. Our Board authorized an additional $500,000 in funds for 2021 to disperse to families with emergency needs. I felt as though we could support this expense with the awesome amount of donations that we received through 2020, and with our upcoming summertime GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE CAMPAIGN that began in June and goes through the end of this month. But that 500K is quickly diminishing and we have four more months in this year.
While people are finding more job options available, many positions still do not pay enough to sustain their family. ACO’s GED programs continue to grow as more adults are needing a high school equivalency to become employable. We are assisting with resumes, interview skills, goal setting and budgeting classes. But all of this takes time before reaching financial stability. ACO staff are scrambling to provide financially with rent and utilities, and offer programs for education and employment opportunities. But it also takes money and donations, both of which are down. Way down.
I’ve spent months telling you all of the positive things happening at ACO. Even though we are seeing four times as many clients as we were just two years ago, we’ve been able to provide funding to help with mortgage, rent and utilities to make sure that families can stay in their homes and keep their kids fed with plenty of groceries they receive from the ACO Food Pantry. But our resources are low and how many more families we can support depends on you and community donations.
If you have given to our campaign this summer, I extend my deepest gratitude. THANK YOU! You are making it possible for us to literally save lives and help families survive through the hardest challenges many have ever faced.
If you have not yet made a financial donation to ACO, and can do so- PLEASE DO SO TODAY! Donate online at www.acocares.org or send to 801 East Main Street, Allen TX 75002.
These are unprecedented times. I can’t imagine the face of the single mother counting on our agency to get her through the month and keep her A/C and electricity on when we tell her we are out of funds. I don’t want to face a senior citizen to say that we cannot pay their rent this month, when we are their only safety net. I can’t tell Collin County families struggling that we can no longer help them, when that is our mission. That’s a message that no one wants to give.
ONE MORE THING…
While no one wants to write a message as a plea for support or to share the ongoing need in our community, the words I always want to say is “THANK YOU!” We’ve faced struggles, we’ve seen our residents face critical situations, and because of the generosity in Collin County, we’ve always come through. Thank YOU for your kindness and for holding hands through it all with ACO!
DONATE TODAY and Help During This Critical Time!