Over 30 years ago in Eolia, a ministry called Eolia Christian Community Outreach (ECCO) was begun. The ministry was started by Tony and Brenda Gross who saw need in the community and wanted to help those in need as well as spread God’s word. The ministry started in the back of a small grocery store and today has grown to a large two-story building.
ECCO does many things throughout the community and Letcher County. It partners with the Letcher County Health Department to aid with the hands program, and with the Leslie, Knott, Perry Letcher County Community Action Council and Kentucky River Community Care to help with needs of their clients.
The ministry helps burnouts, the local church with snacks for the children’s programs, has a food pantry, makes bags each month with a tract about Jesus that it sends to the county jail, and has a thrift store which helps to generate income for the ministry.
ECCO also has guest quarters that house outside ministries which come to the community to help.
On April 9, the beloved founder, Director and President of the Board, Brenda Gross, lost her 10-year battle with cancer. The ministry is devastated by her loss but knows that her work must carry on.
Mrs. Gross made sure to have people in place that are willing and able to continue the ministry that she and her husband, Tony, loved so much. Amy Gross, her daughter-in-law, was brought in and has been running ECCO the past year while Mrs. Gross was not able to do the day-today running of ECCO. Amy Gross, now the Director of ECCO, says she wishes to keep the ministry going as long as God is in control and sees that ECCO is still able to operate.
Amy Gross wishes to tell all ECCO’s donors, volunteers, and supporters as well as its customers that ECCO has no intentions of closing its doors with the loss of Brenda Gross. She says, “We are blessed to be able to share the love of God with others and we pray that we will able to do so for many, many years to come.”