A MESSAGE FROM
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO
Telling it to you straight
We always try to paint inspirational visions of hope and happiness at this time of year. We celebrate the many families we have impacted in a positive light, thank the volunteers and donors who’ve made it possible, and encourage more giving through the end of the year so that we can continue our mission into the new year to come. It’s about bringing joy to families in need, filling hungry tummies and putting smiles on children’s faces as their eyes sparkle with joy when they receive toys and gifts from “Santa.”
But, this year- I’m going to tell it to you straight.
ACO has had more families come to our agency for help this year than in 2020. And I didn’t think that was possible. The challenges that COVID-19 brought to us all last year I imagined would subside in 2021. But they were worse. Evictions came back into power, living expenses went up, and people didn’t get back to work.
Our agency struggled to keep up with the demand for rent and utility assistance, while we saw so many people who were months behind on their rent or mortgage, and facing disconnection of their electricity, water and gas. Our car lines for free groceries continued to fill our parking lot each week, and our food pantry team and volunteers worked overtime to keep up with the need for food. With school back in session this past Fall, the need for school supplies doubled and ACO provided many new backpacks filled with school supplies that parents simply could not afford. This year we again filled our GED classes with students ready to better their education and our employment workshops with folks ready to find better paying jobs.
When Christmas time came, the number of parents who asked for help with new toys for their children tripled. It had already doubled in 2020. Our staff and volunteers scrambled to get over 2300 children registered, gathering their wish lists and matching new toys to fill their gift bags. ACO’s NORTH POLE was amazing as our community came together with donations of toys and gifts, but we had to go back to you on three occasions to ask for more and more toys to meet the demand.
This week before Christmas, the calls coming in for assistance have sounded more panicked and desperate than before as Collin County families continue to struggle to get by or survive. If I were to be completely honest, I would say it is truly heartbreaking. I see our staff stressed and frazzled, and I see our volunteers trying to remain positive but also feeling the impact of it all.
More straight talk…
What hasn’t changed in many years is that I once again see our generous and giving community rise to help their neighbors. Through donations of toys and gifts, food and household items, and financial support, we will take care of those in need in Collin County as we have since 1985. But telling it to you straight, we could never do what we do and change so many lives without YOU holding hands with ACO to lift those up who need it most.
Recently you have received a letter in the mail from ACO, asking for your financial gifts this holiday season and an opportunity for your year-end tax deductible donation. It is a letter of hope for brighter days ahead. It is a thank you letter on behalf of the families we serve, thanking YOU for your giving spirit. And it is a message from the ACO Staff, Board of Directors and Volunteers as we ALL wish you a very happy holiday season and Merry Christmas! Please remember ACO with your year-end charitable gifts. Checks dated and postmarked by December 31, 2021 and online gifts made before midnight on New Year’s Eve will qualify for 2021 tax deductions.
One More Thing…
Are you finished with your holiday shopping? If you are like me, you are still rushing to finish with your gift list. Let ACO help! You can make an online donation in honor or memory of someone special and a note will be sent acknowledging your gift! Or give a gift that lasts year round as a monthly sustaining donor. Just visit acocares.org.
(I receive so many compliments and encouragement from you as I try to keep you updated on what is happening within our organization and our community through our enews. However, at any time you may choose to opt out of our email mailing list at the bottom of this page. I hope that you will choose to stay on our communications list into 2022! Thank you for your support through 2021 and here’s to a Happy New Year in 2022!)
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO