By Kathy L. Collins

It may seem unthinkable, but one in four families suffers from food insecurity, which means that they do not know where their next meal will come from, right here in the greater Brandon area. When families face economic struggles, the holidays are often not very joyous.

In an effort to alleviate some of this suffering, the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) of Brandon and several area churches have come together to once again host the Brandon Gift of Hope.

With the help of the community, the goal for this year is to provide 700 families with a Thanksgiving meal complete with a chicken or turkey. During the winter holidays, the goal is to do the same for 900 families. As an extra added bit of help, families will also receive toys during the winter holidays.

Stacey Efaw, Executive Director of ECHO said, “The holidays are the hardest time of the year for struggling families. These are people who work hard to put food on the table, pay bills and keep their families together. The Brandon Gift of Hope is just one way that the community can come together to help those less fortunate.”

Families and individuals in need can register for the Brandon Gift of Hope from Monday, October 28 through Monday, November 11, and then again from Monday, December 2 through Monday, December 16. Registration will take place at either ECHO located at 507 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon or at First Baptist Church of Brandon located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.

Distribution of Thanksgiving meals will take place on Friday, November 22 from 12 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, November 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Distribution for the winter holidays will take place from Friday, December 20 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, December 21 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Donations will be accepted at the Brandon Gift of Hope Tent which is located on the grounds of First Baptist Church of Brandon or online at from Monday, October 28 through Friday, December 21. For more information, please call ECHO at 685-0935.


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