FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wendy Lewis, President/CEO, ECHO
November 20, 2019
El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) Kicks off Holiday Giving Drive
Taking Place during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week November 16-24, 2019
– During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week ECHO is kicking off its Holiday Giving Drive to encourage participation from the community to bring to light the issues of hunger and homelessness in San Luis Obispo County. The SLO County Point-in-Time census of 2019 showed an increase in homelessness by 32% since the last census in 2017. This represents an increase of 37% of homeless families and the largest increase experienced by homeless veterans at 78%. The Holiday Giving Drive will highlight the needs of those facing homelessness and how the community can get involved to help.
“As the holidays approach, people take time to consider what they’re thankful for and donate some of their time, attention and resources to others,” says Wendy Lewis, President/CEO, “From monetary and in-kind donations to attending our events and joining our volunteer team, participation from the community is always welcome.”
The next ECHO event the community can participate in is the first annual Turkey Trot of North County at Atascadero Lake Park on Thanksgiving Day. The event is a 5K community fun run/walk fundraiser to support ECHO’s many services. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. and the run/walk begins at 9:00 a.m. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, turkey costumes are welcome. The event is family and pet friendly and a suggested donation of $20 per person will be encouraged during registration.
Last year ECHO provided 19,400 nights of stay, 54,000 nutritious meals, and 3,700 hot showers to those in need. More than 60% of ECHO’s residents were successful in finding housing. “It takes an active and caring community willing to problem solve and provide resources to help those facing homelessness get back on their feet,” says Lewis, “We are so thankful for our community of supporters and their desire to help us with our mission.”
More information on how to get involved can be found at ECHO’s website, www.echoshelter.org
. fundraising, and advocacy events.
About El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)
ECHO currently operates a safe and secure overnight 50 bed shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals who have become homeless. ECHO has received approval to expand to a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week facility and add 10 additional beds. The transition is expected to be complete within 6 months to a year. With a unique residency program, ECHO clients are provided case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing within three months of entering the shelter program. While enrolled in the program, clients learn life skills for employment, budgeting, healthier habits and more. The goal and the result of this practical support is the empowerment of residents to move in a positive direction while assisting them in acquiring the skills and services they need to become self-sustaining, including secure housing.
A force of 1,500 community volunteers provide ancillary support to run the shelter program and the meal program that serves as many as 80 dinners each night to shelter residents and the homeless population. ECHO also operates a shower program that provides hot showers three nights a week to anyone in need. ECHO supplies the homeless population all the necessary toiletries and offers access to clothing, shoes, blankets, sleeping bags and school supplies for children.