BY Linda Chion Kenney
Published: April 1, 2015
CLICK TO VIEW ARTICLE
The Emergency Care Help Organization in Brandon fulfills its mission with charity thrift sales, food drives and collection hours, but also with aid from businesses and organizations throughout the Greater Brandon area.
The Fresh Market in Valrico, since its opening a year ago, “has been a wonderful community partner,” said Cathy Collins, spokesperson for the Emergency Care Help Organization, at 507 North Parsons Ave. in Brandon. “They came into Valrico and have been giving us produce, sandwiches and breads. They’re big on produce, and fresh juices.”
Also of a giving mind is Costco, which provides bread and overstock items, including mismarked items that cannot be sold. Publix locally provides breads and dessert items while Publix Super Markets Charities helps in sponsoring ECHO events.
In 2012, ECHO received a $40,000 grant from Walmart for a truck to pick up fresh produce and other donations and to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. The year before, Panera Bread donated 60 chairs to the community food bank and clothes closet.
Throughout the month, ECHO receives aid from Bay Life Church Seeds of Faith, which runs a community garden and raises fresh vegetables for giving. Coming soon, Collins added, are the fruits of an ECHO partnership with McLane Middle, where agricultural classes will be harvesting food for donation.
ECHO serves people in Brandon and beyond, serving East Hillsborough County, from Thonotasassa to Gibsonton, Collins said.
“We cover all of eastern Hillsborugh County, except for Plant City, and two Tampa ZIP codes.”
ECHO helps people who, because of emergency situations, need food, clothing and basic household goods. The nonprofit also provides social services aimed to help people find jobs, earn high school equivalency diplomas, eat well and tend to their financial matters.
In addition to corporate and small business support, ECHO receives aid from local clubs, groups and organizations as well as from the community at large, and particularly through a series of ongoing events.
Charity thrift sales are held every Saturday, from 8 a.m. to noon, except for a weekend that shares a holiday, such as Easter. Upcoming thrift sale dates are April 11, 18 and 25. The sale is inside ECHO, at 507 North Parsons Ave., and features excess clothing, shoes and household items that have not been circulated.
To view the offerings of ECHO, one-hour tours are given to address the nonprofit’s work in emergency food and clothing assistance and helping to meet basic social services, such as attaining a degree, a job, financial literacy and healthy eating and living habits.
For information, call (813) 685-0935, or visit online at www.echofl.org.