A message from ACO Chief Operating Officer,
MARJORIE VANESKAHIAN BURR

I'm going to tell you a story. Some of you have heard me tell this before, but it is an important story- and a true story. Not long after I began working at ACO in 2001 (Yikes, yes I have been around THAT LONG!), I was working as ACO's Volunteer Director and we had some wonderful volunteers helping at our front desk since we did not have a full-time receptionist. 

One day the front desk volunteer came to me in tears. She said, "I just can't do this!" I asked her WHY was she crying. Seems as though a young mother had come into the office that morning asking for help with food. In 2001 ACO had no food pantry- just a basket in the lobby with some bread donated from the local grocery stores and a small stash of canned Spaghettios, tuna and such in a closet for emergencies. This volunteer explained to the mom that she could give her a voucher to take to the local church food pantry, but that they wouldn't be open until the next afternoon. Her little boy, hearing this, started crying and said, "BUT MOMMY, YOU SAID THAT WE COULD EAT TODAY!

That's a powerful story. This was an Allen family. She wasn't homeless and passing through or coming to ACO from Dallas. And this family and many others like them are the very reason that the ACO Food Pantry exists today. No child has to wait another day to eat. The pantry is open for shopping appointments and emergency food bags of groceries are always available to any family in need.

I hugged that volunteer that day, with tears in my eyes as well. And I reminded her that because ACO is here, and because volunteers and donors make it possible we did make sure that child had food to eat that day, even if it was from our small supplies in the closet, and we would keep working to someday have a larger pantry at ACO. 

This past May, our Food Pantry gave out 62,749 pounds of food to more than 400 families. That's equal to more than 52,000 meals! Just a few more than we gave out that day in 2001.

Hunger is still a real problem in Collin County. 1 in 4 children are food insecure. ACO works each day to fight hunger and homelessness, but we cannot do it without the help of our neighbors. Please, this summer GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE. See more about our summer campaign below. 

The Honorable Allen Mayor, Steve Terrell presented a proclamation at the June 26, 2018 Council Meeting to ACO Chief Executive Officer, Monty Moore, citing July as "GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE" month in Allen in honor of Allen Community 
Outreach's annual summer campaign to raise awareness and funds for local families fa cing hunger and homelessness.

"So many Allen residents and businesses do not realize that there is a problem with poverty in our city." said Moore. "While we continue to see thriving bus inesses and new homes being built, there is an underlying issue that many families are struggling day to day to pay their bills and feed their children."

Allen Community Outreach sends mailers to Allen, Fairview and Lucas area homes each summer to ask for support and make families aware that they have neighbors in need. This year's message is child hunger and its prevalence in Collin County. The message is how neighbors can ensure that no child goes hungry in our area, and no family faces homelessness. The message is GIVE WHERE YOU LIVE and partner with Allen Community Outreach to make a difference right here at home. It's a strong message!

ACO of fers programs and services for income support assistance with rent, utilities, clothing and medical visits. Education and Employment Programs go beyond immediate needs to offer guidance for long-term self-sufficiency.
 
These programs are made possible by local donations from friends and neighbors in the community
  • $50 provide breakfast and lunch for a child during the summer months. 
  • $100 feed a family of 6 for one week. 
  • $250 assist a family with utilities for one month.
  • $500 keep a family in their home for one month.

Anyone can become a sustaining donor of ACO by choosing one of these levels:
Caring Neighbor: $10 - $50 per month (Equals $120 to $600 per yr.)
Hometown Hero: $60 - $100 per month (Equals $720 to $1,200 per yr.)
Community Partner: $110 - $210 per mo. (Equals $1,320 to $2,520 per yr.)
ACO Superstar: $220 + per month (Equals $2,640 + per yr.)

"The struggles are real for Allen Community Outreach, faced with the constant need for funding to provide programs and services, and support the hundreds of families seen each month that simply need a helping hand to prevent hunger and homelessness," said Moore.
 
The Mayor and Allen City Council know how critical the issue is, and support ACO's mission. "Without the donations and generosity in our community, ACO could not exist. We greatly appreciate the support of the City of Allen and the residents of our giving community," said Moore.
 
Give Where You Live is ACO's annual reminder to the community that the need for gifting is year-round, not just during the holidays. A gift this summer during this campaign is vital for ACO to continue helping neighbors facing crisis in our community all year long. 

Donations may be accepted online at www.acocares.org or sent to ACO, 801 E. Main Street, Allen TX 75002. For more info, call 972-727-9131.

Save The Date.....

Heritage Ranch Country Club in Fairview will be the venue, and the best in food drink, auctions and prizes, fun and games, and entertainment will all be packed into one fabulous Game Night! Come celebrate the mission of ACO and support ACO programs.

Details are soon to come, but mark your calendars now! Debbie Stout, ACO Asst. Director of Fund Development is currently accepting donations for the auction, sponsorships and building committees. If you would like more information contact her at dstout@acocares.org.

Each week more than 100 bags are going out the pantry doors, and feeding hungry kids!


 

Thank you to our generous community for your donations of kid-friendly foods for our ACO KIDS Summer Food Program. Hundreds of children will have plenty of easy to prepare and healthy choices for breakfasts and lunches this summer instead of facing empty pantries and refrigerators. YOU made sure that no child in our area is going hungry this summer and WE THANK YOU!

 

Among our many donors, sixth graders from Mary Evans Elementary raised funds, purchased and filled more than 65 bags.

 


Visit our Website
www.acocares.org
DID YOU KNOW.....

--That ACO has 29 students currently enrolled in GED classes? 

--That ACO EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION PROGRAM helped a young mom graduate from Allen High School this year by providing child care financial assistance? This awesome mom is now focused on getting her Cosmetology license so she can support herself and her child.

--That a dad who had just gained custody of his two young daughters came to ACO for help? Elated that his children were now with him and panicked that he didn't have the things he needed to provide for them, ACO stepped in to assist with clothing for the girls, some food to fill his pantry, and even a gift card to purchase to very special brand new "welcome home" toys! 

--That ACO Car Stickers are now available? Tell the community that you care and put a sticker on your back window. Monthly donors will be receiving the stickers in their thank you letters. If you'd like one, let us know!