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For many people, Thanksgiving and Christmas are joyous holidays celebrated with family and friends, but that is not true for hundreds of families in the Greater Brandon area who are walking through very difficult economic times.  When you don't have a job and have lost your home, it is almost impossible to think about buying a turkey and gathering the family together to celebrate anything.  


 Responding to the great need in our community, several churches in the Greater Brandon area are partnering with ECHO in sponsoring Gift of Hope. Gift of Hope will supply everything that is needed to make a great Thanksgiving meal for 800 families complete with turkey and all the fixings.  At Christmas, not only will the families receive the items needed to make a great Christmas meal, but also have the opportunity to shop for toys for each of their children!  Do you want to be a part of something that will make a difference in our community and reach out in love to those in need?  You can volunteer, donate, or give.


Hunger Facts

     Right now 1 in 6 in our area is food insecure, which means that they do not know from where their next meal will come.  Survival is a daily challenge.  Each year, ECHO assists over 16,000 area residents with emergency food, clothing and basic social services.  Over half of ECHO’s clients are children under the age of 18.  It has been reported in a 2014 hunger study that 75%of individuals served by food pantries report having to choose between paying for food and pay utilities.  67% must choose between paying for food and paying for medicine.  Finally, food insecurity is NOT a homeless issue.  An astounding 94% of those of need help either own or rent their home. 

2014 Volunteer testimonies for GOH events

“first time for Christmas it was very heart warming to meet and help people and to see them smile at the end of their journey to a better Christmas.”
Arlethea Goden

“ was a pleasure to help the need. Will do it again next year.”                            
Raymond Fischer

“It was fun and heartwarming to see the needs being met, very organized activity, since bikes were limited you may want to decide at screening who is getting one and keep them aside.”  
Bonnie Vinci

“Our group arrived and the kids and adults were put to use in all kinds of areas, it was a blessing to serve.  The kids in the greeting area really enjoyed helping the guests write cards to the elderly and serving refreshments and overall making guests feel welcome.”  
Mary Rogers

“Five of our total volunteers from the BSDA church were bilingual and were able to help interpret in food selecting and wagon pulling. It was a blessing.”     
Mary Rogers

“I moved here from New York where I did lots of volunteer work.  It gives me great joy to help others.”  
Jean Maldonado

“My husband Reggie and I are glad to help out in anyway we can”                     
Rachel Hendricks

“I met some amazing people that warm my heart. And I thank God that I was able in return to help others”  
Karen Huggins

“Many people working together like a family. Enthusiasm and Christian love shared by all. Many grateful memories to remember serving our Lord.”              
David Denning

“I was the greeter from the prayer room to the food room. Very well organized, everyone was friendly.  By volunteering I received a gift. Observing the people that came in I truly saw myself, how I have been blessed. How I can represent Jesus on this Earth. The best thing was seeing people walking out with a bible in their hands. They were taking Jesus home. What a blessing.”                         Gladys Galarza

“Fun & good feeling derived from experience. Met some great people & felt blessed to be able to help with such a wonderful event!” 
Sally Ballance

“I assisted in checking people in at the door and tried to get a smile out of everyone.” 
Mary Hayes

“It was wonderful. I think I was the one that was blessed.
  Thank you for allowing me to volunteer. It was a great day! Many will be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal.”  
Joyce Kinnear

“Volunteering to help others in need is a blessing to me, I brought my Niece along who is 17, she also was blessed.”  
Linda Messina

“Helped set up rooms for Gift of Hope.  Moved lots of food! It went well and we got done sooner than expected.” 
Gary Hamaker

“I worked the turkey table, bagging and handing out turkeys and chickens.  Thank you so much for this opportunity to serve.  It was a great blessing. I already signed up for another time to serve in December.” 
Gary Hamaker

“It was amazing! What a blessing to be able to just greet the people, smile, wish them a Happy Thanksgiving and congratulate the ones who committed their lives to Christ that day!!! Loved it!!” Amber Pendleton

“ Wonderful experience for me, as well as my 10 year old son, who came along.  We were wagon wheelers and it was precious! BEING A SMALL PART OF THIS TREASURE HAS BLESSED US IMMENSELY.  We’re looking forward to Christmas and coming back to volunteer again! Thank you so much for welcoming us and blessing us today!” 
Dana Galarneau

“Guests over and over said how thankful they were to have Gift of Hope and that they knew they felt like they were among family when they came there.”     
Pat Howard

“Will be able to volunteer anywhere” 
Karen LeBlanc

“Worked as a greeter and it was wonderful to be first to welcome the guests and help with registeration.” 
Lilian Bickler

“It was a blessing day.” 
Karen Huggins

“Giving Hope is receiving Hope too. I feel humbled and blessed.”                        
Laura Simpson

“a wonderful group of ladies to work with.” 
Linda Messina

“This is a wonderful community based event that reached over a thousand families at Christmas with presents and food. It is well organized and a great way to reach out to our community.”

“Wonderful opportunity for the kids to serve others and learn responsibility. There were positions available that younger kids could handle, which is great way to start them early. Great organization.” Jennifer Williams

“ It was wonderful to see the generosity of the people in the community who purchased wonderful gifts for children of all ages.” 

“What a blessing to wrap gifts for the children. Parents were so grateful to receive the gifts and expressed they felt extra special that we would wrap them too. Great day! “ 
Sandra Pennington

“My son and I helped Earl in the tent, for the second year in a row stocking and packing groceries in the bags and delivering to the church. We love the value in helping others.” 
Michael Sydorowycz

“Had a wonderful time helping and talking with the people that came to Gift of Hope for assistance! Such a blessing!” 

“Such a blessing helping and talking with everyone.”

“Quite a hectic day but still such a blessing!! Loved it!!”  
Amber Pendleton




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Volunteer's need to be 14yrs of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.


Or you can donate now
 
                                                                          Gift of Hope Turkeys
                                                                         
                                                                                   


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