Canceling the Holidays…

My own family has chosen to cancel Thanksgiving, and even possibly our Christmas gathering. My mother is not in good health, family is scattered and not wanting to travel, and many of us are already risking our own health and exposure to COVID in our work. With the cases on the rise, it just doesn’t make sense to take the risk.

As ACO’s CEO, I take the responsibility of our staff family very seriously when it comes to their own health and exposure to COVID. We follow strict protocols for safety. But we can’t just cancel Thanksgiving and Christmas!

ACO is here to serve our community, and honestly this is the year when ACO is seeing more families in need than EVER before. We can’t close our doors to hungry families, to those at risk of losing their homes and to those who have nowhere to turn for help. We can’t just cancel the holidays!

However, we cannot serve our neighbors in need without your help! We need volunteers who can follow our safety protocols, and are not in a high health risk category to help us sort, box, bag and distribute both holiday food and toys to families in the coming weeks. If you would like to volunteer, visit our website at acocares.org or contact Michelle Clough, ACO Director of Volunteer Services- mclough@acocares.org.

We also need donations- financial gifts and donations of food. Hopefully you recently received a letter in your mailbox from me. It is our annual holiday campaign letter, asking for your support of our mission. Without financial gifts, we cannot afford operational costs to serve those in need. Without those funds, we can’t help pay rent and mortgage to keep a family in their home or pay utility bills to make sure their children are warm at night. We depend on community donations of food to feed hundreds of families each week.

If you can make a financial gift, please do so online at acocares.org. You can mail a check to ACO, 801 E. Main Street, Allen TX 75002.

Food may be donated at ACO’s Processing Center at 2 Butler Drive (Mon-Sat, 9-4) or the ACO Food Pantry during work hours or left in the donation box at the north end of the building at 801 E. Main. For a list of current pantry donations needed, see our website.

2020 has been a different year, and a struggle for many Collin County families. But it is also a year that ACO changed our name to ALL COMMUNITY OUTREACH to make sure families know that we DO SERVE all of Collin County.

It’s been a year to alter our delivery of services, our safety guidelines, our way of providing programs and services. 2020 has kept the ACO staff constantly evolving and changing with the needs of the community, while cross-training and working innovatively and creatively.

While closing our flagship Resale Store because of the pandemic and the risk to employees and volunteers, as well as the need for space to collect and sort additional food, we have lost that operating income and have to depend more on our community for support. And, to date we have not had staff infected with COVID-19, but we’ve kept our contingency plans in place if needed.

It has been a very different year for our agency, but it has been a challenging year for us all. We have managed to make it to November TOGETHER- helping each other. I am so thankful to YOU for continuing to hold hands with ACO through it all.

I am appreciative of our leadership with our Board of Directors and our donors who continue to give. I want to extend my personal appreciation to our Board President these past two challenging years, AMY GNADT. She and our amazing Board have brought our organization to a new level. Amy’s leadership and dedication is amazing and genuine, and I look forward to continue working with her as Immediate Past President and in other leadership capacities at ACO. THANK YOU AMY!

I am honored to work with an amazing group of dedicated staff members who are willing to do WHATEVER it takes to continue our mission. Our logo represents not only their hands working together, but also the heart of our employees.

This year, in 2020, the holidays are not cancelled. They are more important and critical than ever before to bring hope and joy and offer care and support to those who need it the very most. However you choose to celebrate (or not) and be thankful during the Thanksgiving holiday, please be safe and kind. And be thankful for the amazing community where we work, live and care for each other.


This Saturday, from 10am-12 Noon ACO will hold a MEGA THANKSGIVING FOOD GIVEAWAY at Church 1132 at Greenville Ave and Rivercrest Drive. This is open to anyone living in Collin County. If you see lines of cars around the church, you’ll know we are feeding the hungry. THANK YOU CHURCH 1132 for your partnership.

There will be turkeys, fresh produce and all of the groceries needed for a traditional holiday dinner. After Saturday, we will continue to distribute holiday food through the ACO Food Pantry until we close in late December.

Never have I seen a need for food like I have this year! Never have we had long lines day after day of people waiting to get groceries to feed their children and it is heartbreaking. If you are able to share, please drop off food donations to ACO.

These same families have children who still believe that Santa will come and bring toys. Their hopes for Christmas magic may be bigger than ever! ACO is partnering with Toys For Tots to provide children toys in Collin County. New, unwrapped toys are desperately needed. Please donate to Toys For Tots or drop off toys at ACO and we will make sure that they get to the children who are counting on Santa in 2020!

Here’s an idea donate the funds that you’d spend on a big gathering this holiday season if you are keeping your celebrations small. Saving money on travel expenses this year? Make that savings your gift to a family in need. Honor the members of your own family by giving to a family less fortunate. That’s what I am asking my family to do in lieu of a long day of cooking, cleaning, and eating too much pie!

Happy Thanksgiving,

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