In 2023, EChO is celebrating 36 years of serving our mountain communities. Evergreen Christian Outreach started in a small church space (initiated and provided by the Church of the Transfiguration) with just a handful of caring community members in an effort to help their struggling neighbors. Fast forward to now. Our organization now occupies a 55,000 square foot building with 42 employees, more than 300 volunteers serving thousands of people every year through our multiple programs: Food Pantry, Client Services, Shelter and our ReSale store.
In 2022, as we looked toward the new year, we expected to serve more households, however, we were not expecting the overwhelming number of people turning to EChO for assistance. The trend of a 50% year-over-year increase from 2022, which began in January, has continued to accelerate throughout the year. In October alone, 555 unique households made a total of 1,397 visits to our food pantry, including 49 new households that enrolled in just one month. A conservative estimate indicates that we provided at least 35,000 meals through the food pantry in that month alone, and this doesn't even encompass all of our other programs. Overall, we have assisted well over 1,200 households with food and various services this year, which includes more than 20% of the households in Evergreen.
If you found these numbers astonishing, you're not alone. These aren't just statistics; they represent real people and families who are struggling to make ends meet, and we are deeply honored to be able to assist them during this challenging time.
With the increased number of individuals seeking our help, we have also witnessed an abundance of inspiring stories. For instance, we've enabled 23 people to transition from homelessness into stable, permanent housing, with four more individuals in the process. Each journey is unique, requiring substantial effort and deserving celebration.
As you consider making a year-end donation, could you contemplate a gift that goes above and beyond? This is not merely about filling a financial gap; it's about investing in our future. A strong year-end contribution goes a long way towards that goal.
Thank you for considering EChO as part of your year-end giving.