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Bank of America gives ECHO “Back to Work” Grant

Bank of America gives ECHO “Back to Work” Grant

ECHO is committed to assisting residents regain their independence, self-confidence and self-reliance.  This is often done not by giving a hand out, but by providing individuals with the means to obtain information and education so that they can gain the skills needed to return to work.

ECHO is grateful to Bank of America for the recent grant of $25,000 which was received on Tuesday, April 15.  The money will be applied to ECHO’s Back To Work Program which is designed to provide education and coaching to those residents who need it to re-enter the work force. In addition, the program will help remove barriers to employment such as lack of identification, appropriate transportation and clothing.

Stacey Efaw, Executive Director of ECHO said, “We are grateful to Bank of America for making this grant.  We see people every day who just need a little help, whether it be getting their GED, getting help with their resume and interview skills or just getting appropriate clothes for an interview. Together, we can give residents the tools and resources they need to be successful.”

Thank you Bank of America for being a community partner in ECHO’s effort to assistant residents in need.

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Healthy Living Classes offered for 3rd year

Healthy Living Classes offered for 3rd year

Thanks to the generosity of the Florida Blue Foundation, ECHO has received a Healthy Literacy Grant from the Florida Literacy Coalition which will allow us to once again be able to offer free Staying Healthy Classes to the community.  This is the third year that ECHO has been fortunate to receive this grant.

The Healthy Living classes teach residents how to live and be healthy despite stress and economic hardship.  The success of the classes is due to our instructor, Pat, who puts in countless hours and provides meaningful instruction and information that can be used by the attendees to live healthy.  Pat is assisted by a dedicated ECHO volunteer, Diane Mandile.

The class is popular and always full.  According to Sharmaine Burr, ECHO’s Client Center Supervisor, “Pat has a natural passion for the health and well being of the attendees.  Pat is a Diabetic Care Nurse. Her training has put her in a unique position to be compassionate and understanding.  She can instruct all residents on the importance of eating healthy and making good choices based on her training, education and experience.”

Attendees to ECHO’s Healthy Living Class get either a bag full of healthy foods accompanied by an easy to follow recipe or a selection of clothes.

The next session will begin this summer.  Call Sharmaine at 685-0935 for information and to sign up.

 

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Tribune: A box of this, a can of that will Feed the Bay

Tribune: A box of this, a can of that will Feed the Bay

By ELIZABETH BEHRMAN
Tribune staff
Published: March 21, 2014

 

BRANDON — Several thousand churchgoers will change out of their Sunday best and into their Feed the Bay T-shirts this weekend in time for the annual food drive.

Feed the Bay, in its ninth year, is a partnership between 34 local churches, most of them in the eastern part of the county, and 17 charitable agencies.

During Sunday services, the churches will hand out grocery lists compiled by participating agencies, including such organizations as Metropolitan Ministries and the Emergency Care Help Organization, or ECHO.

Volunteers will make their way to the grocery store after church, stock up on some of the items on the list and deposit their bags by 2 p.m. onto trucks at 19 Publix locations.

The trucks then will head back to the food banks, which will be ready to distribute the new items Monday.

“It’s really the easiest way to serve,” said Melanie Langston, Feed the Bay coordinator for Bay Life Church. Anyone can participate, not just church members, she said.

The list of requests includes more than 30 items ranging from toiletries to canned goods to crackers and cereal.

People are encouraged only to buy what they can afford to donate, said Debbie Weisemann, a team leader from Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

“Between you buying and me buying and other people buying, we got it,” she said.

Feed the Bay was started in 2006 by Brandon’s Bay Life Church and has collected more than a million pounds of food, toiletries and store gift cards through the years.

The event is held before Easter every year as a way to help the food banks restock after they begin to run out of the items they collect during the holiday season.

The goal is to expand the event throughout all of Hillsborough County and then statewide, Weisemann said.

Feed the Bay has grown, but the event stays true to the original mission, she said.

“The basic theme is always pretty much the same,” she said. “Really taking time to, first of all, pray for those that are walking through different times, and then going and doing something about it.”

To find out more about Feed the Bay donation locations, go to www.feedthebay.org.

 

ebehrman@tampatrib.com
(813) 259-7691

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ECHO is proud recipient of Darden Community Grants

ECHO is proud recipient of Darden Community Grants

We are proud to be a recipient of Darden’s Restaurant Community Grants Program! We recently received $2,000 which was made possible by two local Darden Restaurants, Bahama Breeze and Red Lobster, both located in Brandon.

It is because of the support ECHO receives from community partners such as Bahama Breeze and Red Lobster, that we are able to provide food assistance to over 16,000 area residents every year. ECHO provides more than just rice and beans and other non-perishable staples to residents in need. Each family also receives fresh produce, dairy and lean proteins.

In addition, thanks to the community support, ECHO is now able to add Thonotosassa (33592) to its service area. Thonotosassa has been an underserved portion of Eastern Hillsborough County, and ECHO is pleased to be able to provide services to the residents of Thonotosassa.

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Community Partners Support ECHO

ECHO is fortunate to have many community partners who come together to help so that ECHO can continue to serve over 16,000 area residents, half of whom are children, each year.
In just the last week, ECHO has received a great donation, food from a food drive and a visit from a great funder and partner.

On Friday, February 21, ECHO received a check totaling $2,200 from the Corner Bakery Brandon. This represented the donations that the community made while enjoying a great meal at Corner Bakery’s Preview Party on Saturday, January 18. ECHO was selected by the Corner Bakery as the beneficiary of this day after reviewing over 10 non-profits. We are so happy to have the Corner Bakery as one of our community partners.

On Saturday, February 22, Boy Scouts from Gulf Ridge Council held the Annual Scouting for Food Drive.  This fabulous event resulted in over 10,000 pounds of food for ECHO!  We are grateful not only to the Boy Scouts for their hard work and dedication, but to the community who so graciously donated the food.  Thank you.

On Monday, February 24 members of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County came for a tour of ECHO.  The Children’s Board has been a great partner.  We are so grateful for their support and partnership which has allowed ECHO to expand the free programs that are offered to everyone in the community.

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Tribune: Empty Bowls fundraiser supports ECHO

Tribune: Empty Bowls fundraiser supports ECHO

BY LAURA CONE
The Brandon News 
Published: February 25, 2014

 

For a donation of $15, people who attended the Empty Bowls charity event at the Boys & Girls Club of Brandon could sample everything from sausage potato and kale soup to strawberry daiquiri bisque.

Stacey Efaw of Brandon, executive director of Emergency Care Help Organization, said more than 30 volunteers came out Feb. 15 and served up the soups for the event, which raised funds for the Brandon food pantry.

She said each participant could take home one of the 200 clay bowls made by children from elementary schools. (more…)

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Wok Chi Presents ECHO of Brandon with Donation Check

 

Wok Chi Brandon presents ECHO with donation

Back Row (Left to Right): Jalyn Rivera, Dunn & Co; and Sarah Wilde, Dunn & Co.Front Row (Left to Right): Melany Petrella, Wok Chi; Kathy Collins, ECHO; Rahul Chaubal, Wok Chi; Daniel Williamson , Wok Chi; and Stacy Efaw, ECHO. Wok Chi presents a check to ECHO of Brandon for over $2,600.00 on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at Wok Chi located in Brandon, Florida. The ECHO Fundraiser, which ran fromNovember 1 through December 31.2013 at the restaurant, was a part of Wok Chi’s Green Tea Initiative, and 5% of each stir fry purchase was donated to ECHO.

(more…)

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Rotary Has Heart

Rotary Has Heart

ECHO is grateful to the Rotary Clubs of District 6890, Group IV, serving Eastern Hillsborough County, for holding “Rotary Has Heart” now through Valentine’s Day, Friday, February 14. We are thankful for all Rotarians and the community who make a donation of non-perishable food or cash during this campaign. ECHO truly appreciates everyone who holds a food drive for us or makes a donation. It truly takes a community to help over 16,000 area residents, half of whom are children, each year.

Rotary District 6890

Rotary District 6890Rotary International is made up of over 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together for fellowship and to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable.

At the heart of Rotary is the Rotary Club and here in West Central Florida, the 45 clubs which make up our District, embrace the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and while enjoying the
fun, fellowship and networking of our weekly meetings, we are dedicated to making positive changes throughout Hillsborough, Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties – and beyond.

Being a Rotarian is a privilege, an honor and the mark of a truly caring individual, we thank you for your commitment. Becoming a Rotarian connects you with a diverse group of professionals who share your drive to give back. Whether it is providing books to enhance literacy, or providing life saving heart surgery, Rotarians strive to make a difference. With 1.2 million members we achieve so much, but with 1.2 million plus 1, we can do even more, are you the 1.

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Osprey Observer: Help Fill Local Food Pantries By Participating In The Annual Scouting For Food Drive

Osprey Observer: Help Fill Local Food Pantries By Participating In The Annual Scouting For Food Drive

Boy Scouts Food Drive for ECHO of Brandon 

On Saturday, February 22, the Boy Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council will participate in a nationwide food drive called “Scouting For Food.” Scouts will deliver bags provided by Publix to thousands of homes throughout the greater Brandon area on or about Saturday, February 15.

Residents are asked to fill the bags with non-expired, non-perishable food items such as canned soup, canned meats, pasta, canned vegetables and dried milk. Place the filled bag by your front door on Saturday, February 22, and scouts will come and pick up the bags between 9 a.m. and Noon.

Walter McKnight is the Gulf Ridge Council Scouting For Food Chairman. He has been involved with Scouting for over 32 years and has been conducting the food drive for the last 17 years. McKnight said, “As part of our duty to our country and to help others at all times, we (Scouts) conduct the annual food drive to refill the pantries that feed the hungry. We do it in February because that is when the pantries are empty after taking care of the needy during the holidays.” McKnight added, ”Whether you like the Scouts or not, the cause of feeding the hungry needs to be taken care of by those who can. We have been doing this for over 50 years and will continue to do it in the future.” (more…)

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