A message from
Marjorie Vaneskahian Burr, CEO

Why you should give where you live:
Everywhere you turn, there are groups raising funds for very worthwhile causes. Most are very admirable charities who all do good work across the country- and around the globe. And, we should support those with whom we feel a connection, believe in their mission, and feel as though can make a difference in our world AND IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS.

Let me tell you about someone recently impacted, in your own neighborhood.

Teresa is a Collin County resident. She grew up in Plano, married her high school sweetheart and had a family. They built a home in Allen 10 years ago when they were finally financially secure. Last year her husband developed a heart condition and took a low-stress, but lower paying position within his company. Their children are 13 and 15 and active in sports and dance. Teresa took a second job to enable her husband to better manage his health and to help pay for the activities her children loved. In January, her mother-in-law moved in as she was no longer able to live alone. There’s a lot of pressure on Teresa, but she was managing until recently.

Last week Teresa was in her car, in tears, in the free food line at the ACO Food Pantry. COVID-19 had caused her husband’s company to furlough most of their employees, and her part-time job was gone. Her full-time job had cut her hours, but she was managing to work part-time from home. They are all very careful to not become exposed to the virus with her husband’s compromised health and his elderly mother in the house. Bills were piling up, his unemployment hadn’t yet started, and their refrigerator was empty. She had never faced this before.

Teresa remembered the local agency that she had donated to in the past, and where she and her daughter had volunteered last Christmas to help sort toys for local kids. She knew there was a food pantry there. She called ACO.

Teresa’s family is a reason to give where you live. Without a local agency, they would have no where to turn for help. Because of ACO, their mortgage is paid up-to-date, their electric bill is current and their refrigerator is full. Those tears she was crying in the food line were grateful tears, tears of relief that her family would have a hot meal on the table that evening and beyond.

Without a local agency, families every day who constantly face hunger and homelessness would have nowhere to go for assistance. Without your local gifts, ACO could not support our neighbors in need as we have done for the past 35 years.

Support from our neighbors must continue for ACO to stay strong and vital through these difficult times. Each year at this time, we remind our community of the importance of giving where you live with our annual campaign. Please continue your support with our secure online donation process at www.acocares.org. Mail your checks or drop off your financial gift to our main office, 801 E. Main Street, Allen TX 75002.

Business as usual?

Not hardly! Last year at this time we were in the first month of our annual Summer Kids Food Program, assisting families with children who would go hungry during the summertime without a little extra help. We fill bags and boxes each summer and give out Spaghettios and pop-top soups, fun breakfast foods, healthy snacks, and fresh fruits, yogurt, etc. This year, in the first month we have given out more kids food than we did all summer last year. Those numbers, with the more than triple amount of food distributed each week to hundreds of families now coming to our agency, make things not “business as usual” at all. We will keep feeding those kiddos and their parents as long as they need us, and we know that YOU will help us!

And it’s not just food! In June we had applications for more than 500 new Collin County families impacted by COVID-19 who are asking for immediate assistance with rent and utilities. Thanks to the Cares Act program, ACO is providing much needed support to families throughout the county.

But there are others…There are families in need who were in financial crisis long before COVID-19. They still need ACO. They still need the guidance of our caseworkers, the support with their bills, and food on their tables. We haven’t stopped our mission to support these low-income and elderly families while we’ve added to our case load.

While we juggle new families needing help with bills, lines of cars in our parking lot keep coming for free food, and we struggle to get our resale operations up soon, there’s still COVID-19. We continue to be diligent in our safety procedures. All staff check their temperature when they enter the buildings each day. Hand sanitizing stations are at all entrances and masks ARE REQUIRED! We can’t take a chance on our staff getting sick, exposing our volunteers or infecting our clients.

It’s also time to begin planning for school in August and ACO’s annual FILL THE BUS School Supplies Drive and Distribution is gearing up. We need your support with donations of new school supplies for students. Buses will be out beginning July 27- August 4 as drop off locations, so look for the Allen ISD Yellow Buses with the FILL THE BUS banner. More info will be on our website at www.acocares.org.

While it is not “business as usual” at ACO in 2020, we aren’t slowing down. Our community needs us more than ever before. And, we need you! We need your support, your donations, your kindness and thoughtfulness. We are all in this together- #ACOESSENTIAL!

One more thing….Without all of our resale stores open, ACO’s operating funds are taking a hit. Sales from the stores cover much of our expenses throughout the year. Many of you have asked when the stores will open. The Boutique at Watters Creek is already open, 12-6 Monday-Saturday. We hope to reopen our Donation Processing Center soon so that you can again bring us your used household items and clothing. Watch our website or Facebook page for updates.

A FINAL NOTE: ACO’s Offices will be closed in Observance of Independence Day on Friday, July 3, 2020. The ACO Food Pantry will be closed on July 3 & 4. ACO will open again on Monday, July 6, 2020. Please have a safe and happy holiday!

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