Not usually something I talk about…

Each month I share with you the latest news of ALL COMMUNITY OUTREACH, about how we are serving our community and the needs of the many families who are struggling to survive. However, the behind-the-scenes, who-makes-it-happen stories are not something that I usually talk about.

Today I would like to tell you more about how things happen here at ACO, and WHO makes it happen. There are 43 amazing individuals who we call the “ACO STAFF” and our extended family. We care for each other, support each other, and do our very best to work together.

As a reminder, ACO is now serving four times the number of families we were seeing just three years ago. But we haven’t increased our staff. And, we haven’t increased the size of our facilities, though that is about to change. More about that later. All this to say that our organization growth has not kept up with the demand that our community has increased in need. Instead, we’ve put all of our resources back into the community, where it is greatly needed.

We have a relatively small Client Services Team who handle the intake of hundreds of applications for assistance each month, schedule appointments to meet with families in person, counsel and guide these clients through some tough decisions, and offer resources that ACO has available. Those are extremely difficult jobs that our case directors and managers have, facing families who are often frustrated and overwhelmed. And, they do so with kindness and care.

Dealing with the financial end of our organization is no easy task either. From the Community Development office which manages incoming donations, communications and the stress of bringing in enough money to support our mission, to the finance department who manages the various accounts, keeps us on budget, and provides payments and grant disbursements to clients, it’s all a very complex and stressful task. Yet they do so with accuracy and efficiency.

Speaking of donations, the true “rock stars” of our staff are the receivers and processers who unload your cars of used clothing and household items in 110 degree heat, rain and cold, then smile and offer you a receipt for your donation from the comfort of your car. They work in a hot warehouse, cleaning and sorting those donations, then load them into our trucks and unload at our resale store locations. The resale stores staff take those items and display for sale to create extra income to support our mission. They do so with friendly greetings, appreciation and outstanding customer service.

Those who may argue my comment above about “rock stars” are the food pantry staff. They too do amazing and very labor intensive work. Each week more than 500 cars drive thru our pantry distribution lines, again staying in their cool cars while staff and volunteers load their trunks with free groceries, including dairy and milk, produce and more. That’s more than 200,000 pounds of food averaged a month that they distribute. Those rock stars serve hungry families with respect and understanding.

The ACO Leadership Team includes our Board of Directors, all who volunteer their time and resources very willingly. We couldn’t function without their direction and commitment. Also steering the ship are the chief officers, which include myself, our Chief Operating Officer, Chief Missions Officer and Chief Community Development Officer. And under us are the directors, managers, and assistants, all who support our mission and each other.

I rarely talk about why I’ve REALLY remained at ACO for so many years. Yes, it was because of the mission, the amazing leadership and volunteers, and the personal rewards. But as an employee, I was a struggling single mom for a time so I understand how difficult life can be.

I love my job, and my sense of place in the world by being a part of something bigger than me. I believe in the mission of ACO, and I admire those who volunteer their time and my coworkers who could work elsewhere for higher paying jobs. I am proud to be a part of the ACO Family. And, that’s something I do talk about often!

One more thing…

I mentioned I would talk later about our increasing facilities. So here is the exciting news! All Community Outreach is pleased to announce the expansion of facilities to an annex location at 117 N. Greenville Ave.

The ACO Annex will be the temporary location of 2022 service projects such as the Fill The Bus School Supplies Drive and Distribution in August, the ACO Mega Holiday Food Giveaway in November, and the ACO Toy and Gift Drive in December.

Following fundraising and renovation construction in 2023, the annex will serve as the future home of an expanded ACO Resale Store and Donation Processing Center. The ACO Annex is located in a high traffic area and central location in Collin County, at the corner of McDermott and Greenville Avenue in what was formerly the Big Lots store in Allen. Read all the details here: https://www.acocares.org/news-and-events/aco-annex-press-release/

And finally and perhaps most important,

I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE. It’s ACO’s annual giving campaign time of year. Donations are down. We NEED your support NOW.

Without your financial gifts, we cannot keep families from being evicted, living with no electricity or water, or from facing hunger and homelessness. It’s a simple online donation to https://www.acocares.org/donate-give-where-you-live/.

I consider YOU, as a donor and friend, a vital member of our ACO Family as well! Thank you.



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