How does it feel?

Do you know how it feels to truly be hungry? To face hunger with no food in your pantry or refrigerator? To be scared and unable to feed your kids? To pretend that Thanksgiving is just another Thursday because you can’t afford to prepare a festive family dinner?

Do you know how it feels to have no money at all in your checking account? To be unable to pay the utility bills and know you are facing cut-offs any minute? To wait for the eviction notice to be taped to your front door? Do you know how it feels to have to sleep in your car?

Do you know how it feels when your children talk about toys they Santa to bring them while you know there’s no way you can afford new toys this year? To want to make the season so special for your family but there’s just no money coming in?

Do you know how it feels to change lives? To be on the other side of that despair and be grateful for what you have and want to share? To make an impact on a stranger or bring joy to a family that you don’t even know? Join hands with ACO and through your gifts and donations you will directly change lives of families right here at home. You can change lives by simply donating online at acocares.org.

Do you know how it feels to be needed?

ACO needs you now. It’s critical. We need toys and financial gifts.

We have 300 more families registered for holiday food than we did last year for our 2-hour food giveaway coming up. Turkeys are in short supply, and we chose to distribute gift cards to families in addition to their boxed holiday groceries so they could purchase their choice of protein. While we got hundreds of gift cards, it wasn’t enough. We had to purchase more cards totaling over $7000 so that families could have meat on their tables for Thanksgiving. We’ve never faced these numbers, not even during 2020.

People are panicked. They can’t afford food and their children are hungry. And the lines for food each week at the ACO Food Pantry just keep getting longer as we head into December.

We have 1632 kids as of today, ages babies to teens registered for toys and gifts, and there are still two weeks left to sign up. This is the largest number we’ve ever had from parents asking for help with toys for their children. Last year we worked with Toys For Tots and saw the toy shortage they faced. ACO quickly reacted as our community jumped into action to provide the needed toys directly to our agency to distribute. We currently have twice as many who are requesting our help for toys as we did last year. And that’s through ACO’s direct sign-up online. I believe that we will serve more families this year than all the other area agencies in the county. But we again must depend on support from our community.

The Allen and Fairview Fire Stations are collecting toys specifically for ACO’s program, as are many local businesses, all listed on our website. Please help us by donating specifically to the “ACO North Pole” Toy Collections.

It’s a critical time and we need your help. I have been involved with ACO’s programs for a long time, and in 20 years I have never seen the need like I am today. I can’t imagine having to turn anyone away because we don’t have toys. It will NOT happen on ACO’s watch- but we need your support.


When I ask you how it feels to be needed, I hope that you say it feels good. I hope you know that you are making a difference. It is rewarding to know that you can put a smile on a child’s face by donating a new toy, and you can offer relief to stressed parents unable to pay their rent by making a financial donation to ACO.

You can change lives. I know how that feels, and because of you and your generosity our staff sees the impact you make and the many lives you do indeed change every day.

On behalf of more than 810 families who you are feeding, 1632+ children you are providing with gifts this season, thousands more who you are keeping warm and in their homes this winter, 44 grateful ACO Staff members and 18 appreciative ACO Board Members, we thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.



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