Mother Teresa once said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest to you.” ECHO of Brandon started helping the people closest to them, which was the Brandon community. They have been helping those in need for more than 30 years and now they are extending their operations to help those in need in the Riverview community.
“The North Brandon campus has reached its breaking point,” said ECHO’s Executive Director, Eleanor Saunders. “The parking lot is jammed packed with volunteers, hurting families and Opportunity Center students. We knew that we had to find a solution that would take pressure off of the North Brandon campus.”
So, Saunders and her team pulled data and found that 25 percent of all the clients ECHO serves were driving in from southern parts of Hillsborough County. “We began making plans to open a second location, where the need was the greatest, which is Riverview,” Saunders said.
Saunders and her ECHO team felt opening a facility in Riverview would help accomplish a number of ECHO’s goals. “Just as we do in Brandon, the Riverview facility provides clothing and food to those in need that live in our 14-zip code service area. The free classes we offer in longer term life sustaining training such as GED, Job-to-Job and Money Matters will not be offered in Riverview due to limited space.”
“Our Riverview location has been very busy serving families in the area. We now find ourselves in need of blankets and towels as well as hygiene products: shampoo, conditioner, shave cream and other toiletries. In the food area, we are running low on dry soup, canned milk and cereal. We encourage local businesses to help by holding a food, linen or hygiene drive. Individuals can also donate by dropping off their donations at its Riverview location.”
“Our hopes for this new location are to expand the number of clients served in the southern county,” McKinnon said. “We hope, with some additional space in the future, to expand our service area to include the zip codes in Ruskin and Apollo Beach then perhaps Sun City and Wimauma.”
If you would like to learn more about the services offered by ECHO, visit their website at www.echofl.org. The new ECHO Riverview Center is located at 7807 Capitano St. in Riverview. The centers hours of operation are Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.