By Jessie Forand/ECHO Your neighbors. Share the wonder. The sun is setting a little earlier on Lake Champlain. The weather is g...

You Give, We Give

By Jessie Forand/ECHO

Your neighbors. Share the wonder.

The sun is setting a little earlier on Lake Champlain. The weather is getting colder. This is the time of year when we start thinking about the upcoming winter, about the holidays, and about others in our community who might have a little less and might need a little more.

At ECHO, it is the time for You Give, We Give, our membership matching program. For each membership opened or renewed (regardless of expiration date) we will donate an equal membership to an individual or family in need. We work with more than 35 social service organizations within our community to make sure these memberships reach those who could most benefit from them.

One such partner is COTS, the Committee on Temporary Shelter – the largest service provider for Vermont’s homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.

Inside the organization’s North Avenue, Burlington, office, Kathy Fleury and Lori Goldman explained just how much the memberships mean to their clients.

Fleury and Goldman said they look forward to distributing the memberships this time of year, because it gives the children, families, and others in their shelters and on their caseloads a break from daily stressors. The ECHO program fits well with COTS’ mission to keep life as normal as possible for kids during difficult periods, Goldman said.

This is especially important during the holidays and school breaks, and because ECHO memberships offer unlimited admission free-of-charge, families can continue to visit throughout the year.

“Part of being a part of the community is taking part in activities that are enjoyable for everybody; that everyone can go to ECHO and have a good time,” Goldman said, “so taking away the financial barrier is such a huge thing for folks staying with us,” Goldman said.

As COTS works to benefit the community by making sure all are housed, she added, ECHO is benefiting the community by making people feel like they are a part of normal, everyday life.

Fleury said, too, the memberships offer a gift to the future, to education, and to family life. These seemingly small but intentional acts, the “One Drops” as ECHO calls them, are what create and affect change.

We hope you will consider buying or renewing a membership today, to help your family and others who you might pass on the street today.

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