A MESSAGE FROM
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO
When will it be over?
We talk about “before the pandemic.” We talk about the issues that we’ve faced as a result of COVID-19. And now I’m hearing the words “post-pandemic” in the media and in our discussions. But what does that mean? When will it end?
From my view at my desk, I still see cars out the window of our building that are lined up as they wait for free groceries at the ACO Food Pantry. Our case managers are still working with 4X as many families as they were in 2019, most who are facing eviction and utility disconnect notices. Our classrooms are filling with clients needing resumes, interview skills, job search and financial coaching. And the ACO Cares Center sees more and more families each week, who come in for free clothing and essentials like laundry detergent and diapers.
As a result of the pandemic, more families across Collin County have found ACO. With nowhere to turn, no safety net or savings account, and no support from family, they need our agency more now than I have ever seen. When will it be over? How can we be post-pandemic?
We want to hope that our world is changing for the better. Our children are back in school, mask mandates have dropped and those alarming numbers of COVID-related illnesses no longer flood the media. But the impact will last for months and possibly years to come. It’s not over.
So we must be prepared. We must continue our mission to the increased number of families facing financial struggles. Our leadership team meets weekly to discuss the needs we see in our community and plans how to best provide help and hope. Our volunteers work tirelessly to fill those cars, sort those donations, and stock our shelves. And we are counting on our supporters to help us continue our mission with financial gifts.
The holiday season is here, and we are planning to provide food, clothing, toys and essentials to 4X as many families this year as we have served in the past. Right now I can count 26 local food drives happening around the county to benefit ACO for our mega holiday food giveaway. I hope that number continues to grow and the food donations continue to come in. We have partners around town already planning their toy collections to support ACO’s North Pole Project to ensure that no children in Collin County go without gifts this year.
The answer? It won’t be over anytime soon. Since 1985, families have needed ACO. We will continue our mission to prevent hunger and homelessness. We will continue to provide the tools to find better paying jobs, gain higher education, and gain financial stability. I hope that you will continue your support and stay with ACO through this journey.
What else will continue? The smiles on children’s faces when they receive new toys, and the tears of joy on their parents’ faces as they express their appreciation for ACO’s assistance. The relief that Moms and Dads have as they carry out essentials from the ACO Cares Center that they could not afford if they had to buy them. The hugs and “thank yous” we receive when individuals leave our workshops, feeling better prepared to land that critical job. All of this will continue as ACO continues to change lives.
Please get involved as we enter the 2021 holiday season. I promise that you will never get over the joy and rewards that you will receive from helping others. Join hands with ACO.
Please donate TODAY! The button below will take you to our secure online donation form.
ONE MORE THING…
It’s the “grateful” season! There’s a large plastic pumpkin at my house on which my son, husband and I have written things that we are grateful for, as a reminder. We bring it out every year at this time and add to it. Things like “vacations,” “friends,” “football,” and “ACO!” are among with is written on our pumpkin. What would you write on your pumpkin?
For many ACO families, they would write “a roof over our head,” “food on the table,” “warm coats,” “income to pay the bills.” Let’s not forget this Thanksgiving the things that we might take for granted are the things most treasured by those without.
I hope that all of us have “ACO” written on our pumpkins! I am thankful for YOU! Happy Thanksgiving!
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR, ACO CEO