A note from Judy Snyder, Social Ministry Team Leader:
Amy Knight, Stewardship Team Leader, Harry Long, and I attended the second annual Prayer Breakfast at ECCO (East Cooper Community Outreach), one of our longest-lasting community outreach partners.
After prayers and remarks, we heard from Monsignor James Carter, who founded ECCO in 1989 after Hurricane Hugo. He detailed his original ecumenical vision, handing out much-needed food from a former Piggly Wiggly to an old, $100,000 building on Lansing Drive to its current impressive campus on Six Mile Drive that offers so much more than food.
In the early 2000s, I volunteered at the Lansing Drive location. I recall an old trailer with no air conditioning parked in front of the building used as a dental clinic. Unbeknownst to me, the Reverend Billy Graham donated that trailer and one other.
Fast forward ahead to the ECCO of today. They offer food, clothes, complete dental care, healthcare, one-time-per-year emergency financial help, and much more. Clients must income qualify to receive assistance.
ECCO did a remarkable job of pivoting during the pandemic and is now even more efficient. Clients used to come to the building to receive groceries and “shop” for clothing, but the pandemic stopped that.
The solution – they went digital. Clients can go online on their phone, tablet, or computer twice a month to choose what they need from the Wellness Pantry. Those without those means can call, and an ECCO representative will take their order over the phone. Once their order is placed, they are given a pick-up time. ECCO is the first client-choice pantry in South Carolina.
We at St. Paul’s have three Grocery Bag Sundays during the year. One way parents and grandparents can get their children involved is to have them help fill the bags, either from your pantry or by bringing the little ones shopping with you to fill the bags.
Amy, Harry, and I ended the morning with an all-encompassing tour by Stephanie Kelley, Executive Director. I urge you to take a tour to learn more and see how you might get involved. Tours are given twice a month at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Contact them at eccocharleston.org.