Several area non-profits, including ECHO, and area churches will collaborate through Compassion in Action, a program run by Metropolitan Ministries, to help the needy in the Greater Brandon area during the upcoming holiday season.

When every day is a struggle, the holidays can seem like an overwhelming burden. Several local nonprofits, ECHO, I Am Hope Café, Women’s Resource Center and local churches including First Baptist of Brandon, Bell Shoals Baptist, The Crossing, Baylife Church, First Presbyterian of Brandon, First United Methodist of Brandon and Celebration Church will collaborate through the Compassion in Action program directed by Metropolitan Ministries to try and ease this burden for the needy in the Greater Brandon area this holiday season. A holiday tent will be set up at First Brandon Baptist Church located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.
The Brandon Holiday Tent will go up the first week in November. Donations of non-perishable food items and new toys will be accepted Monday to Friday from 7 – 10 a.m. and then from 4 – 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.
Families in need must be pre-registered. Families must bring identification, social security cards and proof of residency. Families will receive an appointment time to pick up their items from the Brandon Holiday Tent. Distribution will take place on Monday – Wednesday, November 22-24 and Monday – Thursday, December 20-24.
Registration of families will take place Monday – Friday, November 1-19 and Thursday – Friday, December 2-17 at Women’s Resource Center on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 – 4 p.m., at ECHO on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 – 4 p.m. and at I Am Hope Café on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 – 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 – 10 a.m.
Stacey Efaw, executive director of ECHO, said, “We see a large increase in the request for assistance during November and December. The Brandon Holiday Tent will allow us to serve a larger population of those in need. It will also provide a wonderful way for individuals and families to help by volunteering their time or donating needed items.”
Vince Ferraro, of I Am Hope Café, added, “Those that are in need, in most cases, need the help year round. However, the holidays are special. We celebrate the holidays festively, so when we give to those in need, they can celebrate with us in giving thanks in dignity.”
For more information about the holiday tent and to volunteer to help, you can visit or with a link to Meet the Need. ECHO is located at 507 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon and can be reached at 685-0935. Women’s Resource Center is located at 1017 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon and can be reached at 661-3696. I Am Hope Café’s office is located at 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon and can be reached at 689-4597.

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