Whitesburg KY

ECCO volunteers work to make our lives better


Greetings from the hills and valleys of Eolia and the Eolia Christian Community Outreach.

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

We at ECCO have spent another busy week working the thrift store, making a food run for the pantry, contacting agencies we partner with to see what they need and the beat rolls on. Week after week the volunteers of ECCO work in the cold and heat doing whatever needs to be done. And it is all on a volunteer basic. No one gets paid. If someone in the community needs emergency repairs to their house, there are people at ECCO to answer the call. So you can imagine the hurt and anger caused by Bill O’Reilly’s comments to our region.

ECCO has existed for 22 years and during that time I’ve seen many people come and go as they struggle to make it. I’ve seen a father of four small children with a minimum wage job patiently sort through clothing and toys for his children. One of the most rewarding moments of my life in this ministry was when a young women told me how much she appreciated our thrift store because she could save money by buying her school clothes here. The same young women worked her way through school, and graduated college.

Every year we receive seeds, which we distribute to the community. Most of the people receiving seeds live on a low fixed income. These same people plant gardens where they can, freeze and dry enough food to sustain them for another year. These mountain people with quiet and dignity go about their lives, uncomplaining and thankful for what they have.

People of the mountains understand and know whom I’m talking about, but outsiders don’t have a clue. I think the most damaging word in the English language is “hopeless.” Our purpose at ECCO is to offer people hope by being the hands and heart of Christ.

I have seen from several years of experience with ECCO, we are not hopeless. I see situations where a husband and wife both work to support their family and they certainly do not see themselves as hopeless. They are paying for a home and expecting their kids to go to college just like the rest of America. These people are also part of the Appalachian culture, but we don’t hear about them.

Yes, we have a drug problem in our region, but I think Mr. O’Reilly is judging an entire group of people by the actions of a few. I think my friend Sharlene Cornett said it very well in her email to Mr. O’Reilly Feb. 18 as follows “Mr. O’Reilly, I have been a fan of yours for years. I watch you because you are Catholic. I am a convert to the faith going on 12 years. I grew up in this ‘Hidden America’ dirt poor. I, with only a GED, along with a partner, ran a successful business for 25 years. I left a year ago to answer a call to help the ‘poorest of the poor.’ Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are here doing as she did, seeing Jesus in the ‘poorest of the poor.’ I refuse to see this part of Appalachia only as and I quote ‘a culture of ignorance and poverty.’ Granted there is some here as well as in every corner of the world. You said ‘leave it or try to improve it.’ With God’s help, we will improve it and offer people hope, something we all could use at this time in history.”

With that said, I’ll leave you with quote from Orison Swett Marden, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.”

Community Bulletin Board: Kids Time each Friday at ECCO 10-11:15 a.m., Good News Club each Wednesday 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Eolia Mission for children 3 and up, call 633-5015 for transportation, Neighborhood Watch meeting 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at ECCO, Cumberland River Volunteer Fire Dept. meets 11 a.m. the second. Sunday of each month at the Partridge Station, volunteers welcome. Rockvine Baptist Youth meets each Wednesday at 6 p.m., Bible study also at 6 p.m. — bus will run. Call Mindy at 589-6226 or Linda at 633-4948. Partridge Lions Club meets 6:30 p.m. the first and third of each month at the Ovenfork Senior Citizens Center. Come and bring a guest. Eolia Park Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month at ECCO, 7 p.m.

This week our prayer list includes Bear Hissom, Donna Shelton, Seth Collins, Barb Shelton, Stephanie Estep, Raymond Kiser, Judy Branham, Jean Hampton, Lucy Maggard, Jean Hunsucker, Lillian and Nora Walker, Kess “Rusty” Halcomb, Ruth Halcomb, Olivia Blair, Jack and Marie Snell, Sheldon Starr, Dorothy Nease and Brenda Gross.

Also to be lifted up in prayer are those enslaved by drugs and alcohol, may they be delivered, the troops in Iraq, the United States and Iraq, our president and the leaders of our country, all the children hurt by war, and the ministry of ECCO.

Our address is ECCO, 135 Emily Lane, Eolia, Ky. 40826; email is eccotruth@att.com.

Until next week from the folks at ECCO, “God bless.”

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