Letter from the Executive Director
November 21, 2023
Don Squires

Dear Friends of ECCO,

ECCO started this past summer with multiple staff vacancies after bidding a fond farewell to five members of our hard-working team who left in June for new opportunities. Identifying the next wave of diverse, dedicated, energetic, and motivated leaders to join Team ECCO has been a top priority. Several excellent hires have been made and we look forward to introducing our new colleagues via social media and our newsletter. Click here to view our entire ECCO staff!

In other exciting news, I’m pleased to share several updates on the progress we’ve made toward the first priority of the Beyond Our Walls Capital Campaign to renovate our current facility and reunite our services under one roof.
In July, the ECCO Board of Directors voted to approve the Building & Grounds Committee’s recommendation that Harbor Contracting serve as the General Contractor for our upcoming renovation project. We worked with Harbor Contracting for our Warehouse Renovation Project in the fall of 2020. They did an incredible job completing the work while we remained open and able to serve the community with no disruption. We look forward to a similar outcome with this project. The Construction Documents Kick-off meeting with the project engineers, the Harbor team, and ECCO was also held this month. We are excited about finalizing the plans, obtaining the necessary permits, and setting an official date for the groundbreaking in early 2024.

Additionally, we are thrilled to announce that the Renovation Project Team now includes a professional interior designer. Stephanie McCullough, NCIDQ, of FORM + FUNCTION Interior Design, is an ECCO volunteer in the Clothing Closet who has graciously expanded her volunteer work to include this renovation project. Her expertise will help to ensure our new workspaces are efficiently designed.

As we do each summer, we have compiled our Annual Impact Numbers. Compared to the prior fiscal year, ECCO experienced a 15% increase in the number of families (211) utilizing the Wellness Pantry to combat food insecurity in FY23. Across all of ECCO’s service areas, we had a 19% increase in the number of client assessments for a total of 1,304 unduplicated local families finding assistance, guidance, and resources at ECCO in the past 12 months.

Single-parent households make up one-third of the total number of families ECCO serves. They include people like Beth, a 43-year-old, divorced, Caucasian, single mother of three girls aged 15, 16, and 17. Beth was facing several health issues and accumulating a lot of medical debt. Then came the unexpected major car repair that was not in the budget but necessary so she could continue to get to work. A friend referred Beth to ECCO. Through our financial assistance program, Beth got help with her rent so that she could pay for the car repair. Our Client Navigation team also got her set up to utilize the Wellness Pantry. After placing her first food order, Beth sent an email that read:

“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for my family! I actually did the online shopping yesterday and stopped by on my way home from work to pick up the groceries. My kids were ecstatic. I’m not kidding, my 16-year-old said, “I feel like crying.” You all made our month, we are just so grateful for you guys and what you do.”

We look forward to sharing more of our annual impact numbers – data that demonstrates the growing needs in our community.

Please know how grateful I am for your support that allows ECCO to regularly meet these needs, providing help and hope to our neighbors including Beth and her girls.

Stephanie Kelley

With a grateful heart,


Stephanie M. Kelley
Executive Director