From The Daniel Island News

Everybody has something to give
By Jack Little, ECCO
Nov 20, 2012 - 11:03:51 AM

Jack Little
Executive Director, ECCO
As Thanksgiving arrives this week, our community will enjoy their bounteous feasts with their friends and families. Even those who have fallen on hard times will celebrate thanks to the generosity of East Cooper residents. It’s all due to the community coming together to help with the worthy effort of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.
Each year East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) distributes Thanksgiving meals to our low income neighbors. This group of folks includes the working poor, the elderly and disabled. This year a generous donation from an anonymous supporter allowed us to purchase turkeys for these 400 or so families in our area.
Clients came to ECCO, picked up their turkey gift cards and a bag of fixin’s and headed home. When they are ready, they will head to the Piggly Wiggly to shop and choose their own turkey.
Our community can take pride in the joy of knowing that many of our neighbors in East Cooper will be with their families eating the most shared meal of the year. This year has been a true community effort. Schools, businesses and families collected cans of pumpkin and cranberry sauce, stuffing, and all the other items that make Thanksgiving so special. Obviously, none of this would have been possible without all the volunteers who bagged the food and greeted each client with a smile.  
However, this year there is one more group to include in this community effort: our clients! For the first time ECCO asked clients if they could make a donation to help with the cost of the meal. We explained their giving would ‘pass it forward’ to help someone else. This way each client can feel as if they participated in giving back to the community as well. Sheila Russell, our Client Services Coordinator remarked, “Over half of our clients willingly gave money! People pulled change out of their pockets while others presented a couple of dollars from their wallets.”  Many of them made comments such as: ‘For all that ECCO has done for me when times have been hard, this is the least I can do.’ Charity works at its best when it goes full circle. It’s when those who receive give back as well that we can truly find inspiration and hope.
A community of excellence is when everyone participates in a worthy goal. As I once heard, “Everybody has something to give.” Both the donor and the recipient can participate in making our community stronger. This is truly a year to be thankful and we at ECCO are thankful that we live in such a caring and generous community that can come together to serve our neighbors.  
Our mission at ECCO is to provide safety net services to our low income neighbors, while empowering them to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

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