The Other Side

I’ve written many times about the families that come to ACO for help. I’ve told you of their situations, their struggles, their fear of losing their home and their hungry children. If you read our “enews” each month, you know that side of our clients.

Now, I’d like to tell you about the other side. The other side of the lobby window where our volunteers greet visitors, the other side of the desk where our case managers sit to interview families, and the other side that is our staff who manage our programs and services. It’s not easy being on the other side of a family in need.

Many times when clients arrive, they are stressed and scared. Calming a client who is seeking emergency assistance when they arrive sometimes can be difficult. Yet our staff and the amazing volunteers who manage the reception area do an outstanding job of showing kindness and compassion, both in person and over the phone. It’s not easy on that side of the front desk.

Listening and understanding as a frustrated family describes their situation, many times after they have been to other agencies who were not able to help can be hard for our case managers. They want to help each and every one who comes through our doors with emergencies. It’s not easy on this side of the desk, assessing the situation and determining the best option to provide assistance while considering the options that ACO has available. They have to consider the grant restrictions on funds given to ACO, whether to use donor funding which is limited, or how to best provide non-financial services through the ACO Food Pantry and Cares Center. It’s not easy.

Knowing what our communities need from social services providers, what programs best can help struggling families become financially stable, and how to implement those programs and services is not easy. Finding community partners and collaborations to build effective programs takes time and resources. It’s not easy.

Being on the other side of a family facing crisis after crisis is not easy. But ACO does it 6 days a week, sometimes 7, sometimes nights and weekends. Constantly showing the community our need for support and funding is not easy, yet ACO does it month after month to ensure that we always have resources available when a Collin County family comes to us for help.

Being on the other side of that desperate family who has nowhere else to turn and is heartbreaking. And yet when we can be their safety net, when we can reassure them their electricity will not be disconnected this month or their rent will be paid and they won’t lose their home, it can be so rewarding. It is a good side to be on.

We can’t sit on our side of social services without your support. We can’t provide financial assistance and vital services without your donations and your volunteer time. We can’t be on the other side of crisis to help our neighbors without YOU!

Be on our side, and help us impact a neighbor’s life. Donate food and household essentials, your time to volunteer and your financial gifts. You can change lives by donating online at acocares.org or visit the website for more information. Please, join us on the other side and GIVE!

One more thing…

Sherry Murchison is May’s VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH. Read more about her below. But I want to point out that Sherry has been one of those reception desk volunteers sitting on the other side when clients arrive at ACO. She’s been kind and compassionate in her duties for more than 10 years as one of our many volunteers.

I want to add my thanks and gratitude to her AND to all of our volunteers and awesome staff who spend every day serving our neighbors in need from the other side! Every day you amaze me with your dedication to our community. THANK YOU ALL!



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