Letter from the Executive Director, January 2024
February 6, 2024
Don Squires

Dear Friends of ECCO,

As we begin 2024, we want to begin by saying thank you – for the generosity of community members like you. You are such an inspiration and help ECCO make a life-changing impact for our neighbors in need. But today, unfortunately, the needs of those neighbors are growing at an alarming rate. At ECCO, we saw a 26% increase in the number of orders placed at our Food Pantry in November alone. Yet, we are not seeing an influx of new clients; we are finding that our current clients simply need more.

With today’s challenging environment of high inflation, higher interest rates, and a slowing economy, many members of our community are struggling even more than they were at this time last year. At the same time, our donors are also facing these issues – filling a shopping bag with food for those in need now costs significantly more, resulting in a bag half-full.

At ECCO, we encourage our donors to help us make that shopping bag full again, while fully understanding that economic factors have impacted a family’s capacity to give.

According to the 2022 Giving USA Report, individual giving as a percentage of disposable personal income dropped to 1.7% in 2022, a 40-year low. So, we understand the challenge. However, we think of our community members who have no disposable income; who can’t heat their homes, put gas in their cars, or feed their families—many of whom are senior citizens past their working years, or those who have fallen prey to hiring cutbacks.

This is a time when giving more can do so much more than one might realize. While the incredible amount of giving during the pandemic was staggering in its generosity, today, post-pandemic, we face this cycle of economic uncertainty that reminds us that people are still in dire need of financial assistance.

As we kick off 2024, we respectfully ask that you consider making a new year’s contribution to ECCO. Contributions of all sizes to our efforts in helping local neighbors are greatly appreciated. As you reflect on the past year and look forward to the future, we hope that you will be inspired to help us break this cycle.

With great appreciation,

Stephanie Kelley

With a grateful heart,

Stephanie M. Kelley
Executive Director