East Cooper Community Outreach by Stephanie Kramer
Founded as an emergency relief effort in 1989 after the devastation from Hurricane Hugo, East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) has since grown into a permanent resource for the community in need with three main program areas: Basic Needs, Health Services and Empowerment. Thousands of families a year receive emergency assistance for food, clothing, household furnishings, financial aid, and have access to dental care, medical care, prescription assistance, counseling, and educational opportunities like financial literacy classes, computer skills training, job readiness workshops. These services are all enhanced through personal interaction with staff who provide individualized support for each client, ongoing case management, and emphasize accountability and achievement.
Thanks to the community’s generosity and leadership support from Trident United Way, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, and several other generous companies and foundations, ECCO is able to provide a range of procedures and services for thousands of uninsured adults each year. ECCO maintains a strong collaborative relationship with the faculty and students from MUSC’s College of Dental Medicine, and are fortunate to have 35 local dentists volunteer their time and expertise. ECCO has dental care and medical clinics, perscription assistance, counseling services, and health education. *Must be an ECCO client and live or work in the East Cooper area*
Gracie Lidell came to ECCO with no money, no insurance, no food, and 5 children in the car. She was frustrated and seemed unable to get help from anyone. When she first arrived, she needed help filling basic needs. ECCO’s food and clothing warehouse and prescription assistance program were instrumental in providing those so that she could focus on other issues. ECCO also helped Gracie to provide a nurturing and happy environment for her children through the Santa’s Closet program and a Homework Help program for her daughter. After finding some stability, Gracie began taking classes and participated in the Job Links program. In fact, Gracie was able to get a great job through Job Links. She says, “ECCO saved my life. They helped me when others wouldn’t and gave me hope for a future.”
Sharon Wilson heard about ECCO through a Vocational Rehab program. She was having a hard time. Between unemployment, financial instability and medical problems, she didn’t know how to begin putting her life together. Sharon took the first step toward taking control of her life when she joined the Getting Ahead program. “The support from this program was so helpful to me. I was so down and I felt like I was on a merry-go-round.” In Getting Ahead, Sharon learned about poverty and more specifically, how people get there. She has learned the importance of having a strategy and planning ahead. “I’m more focused on what I’m trying to accomplish,” she said. “I know how to map out my goals, and I know I have a future.” Using the life skills that she learned about at ECCO, Sharon put together a resume. “I would describe ECCO as family-oriented and very passionate about helping people reach their goals.”
Contact Information: To speak with someone for general information or to learn more about their programs, please call the front office at (843) 849-9220 or visit the facility located in Mt. Pleasant off of 17 N below route 41, at 1145 Six Mile Road in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina.