East Cooper Community Outreach assistance programs.

Financial assistance as well as basic needs are provided from East Cooper Community Outreach. The charity organization supports struggling, low income families in eastern Charleston County, including Mount Pleasant. All requests for emergency assistance needs a formal application provided.

Emergency financial aid

ECCO provides cash grants when resources allow. The money from the charity assist hundreds of East Cooper residents, such as those from Mount Pleasant South Carolina, who are experiencing financial difficulty. All applicants to East Cooper Community Outreach are required to visit the office to formally apply. They need to go through an interview, submit proof of income, and more.

Money for rent or utility bills will help people whose circumstances are causing them an increase in household expenses. The challenge they are facing needs to place an unreasonable financial burden on the low income household. If they are behind on rent, it needs to be due to a situation that was not anticipated, predicted or expected in the past 45 days.

Another use of emergency financial aid from ECCO is to help people with an unforeseen hardship, such as home repairs, vehicle, car breakdown, or a medical emergency. The crisis needs to have caused the person an unreasonable financial burden. This needs to be documented with a bill or receipt for services rendered.

Grants may be issued to people dealing with a death of a dependent, spouse, partner or relative. Emergency energy bill or utility help is also offered to people facing a sudden loss of income. Reasons for this can be a job termination, lay-off or reduction in hours. All applicants to the Outreach Program need to have a documented issue with pay stubs dated within the preceding 60 days.

East Cooper Community Outreach wants to help people deal with a financial crisis or disaster. The non-profit wants people to recover as quickly as possible. As the the less damage to their finances there are, the lower the loss will be.





ECCO Food Pantry and Clothing Closet provides groceries, hot meals, household supplies, and dry goods to those in need. It relies on donations and volunteers from Charleston County South Carolina. There may be free Baked beans, Grits, Canned gravy, Coffee, Baby Formula, Ketchup, Shampoo, Toothbrushes, Jelly, Towels, and more. These items can also be delivered to senior citizens as part of Meals on Wheels.

Furniture and households goods are also offered by East Cooper Community Outreach. This is done in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul. The center is open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Qualified low income families can drop by the location to “shop”. They can be given free household items, appliances and furniture.

This service also depends on donations. Drop off any gently used furniture at ECCO or a local church. All items are given to the needy in the community.

Medical care and medications from East Cooper Community Outreach

A clinic takes place once per week, by appointment only. Various nurse practitioners as well as volunteer doctors provide medical services to uninsured low-income residents of Mount Pleasant as well as East Cooper. Patients can get free check ups, Evaluation, Prescriptions vouchers that are non-narcotic, Treatment for basic conditions, Laboratory services, and Health education.

The East Cooper Community Outreach Prescription Assistance Program helps uninsured Mount Pleasant, Charleston and Berkeley County residents. The ultimate goal of this service is to help promote health and wellness when it comes to medications. The service is for the entire community.

There is assistance to clients to help them acquire long and short-term prescription medications. The drugs given out will assist people so they can manage chronic illnesses. The program's mission is to connect clients that lack insurance with resources to assist and support them.  There is strong emphasis from ECCO placed on selecting critical medications they need as well as a low cost primary care physician.

The clinic service coordinates many health care services. There are diagnostic lab work programs, medical supplies, mammograms, free vision examinations and eyeglasses, Obamacare as well as Medicare Part D enrollment for East Cooper residents.





Staff also help clients with the application process for prescription medication assistance programs operated by the national pharmaceutical companies. This means the family may be given free (or low cost) goods. Under such programs, prescriptions are given to the patient for free for up to one year. Note, all resources are limited. Funding for this form of emergency prescription assistance depends on the availability of funding resources from the companies as well as grants.

The non-profit works with local businesses too. Generous grants from Trident United Way as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina allow ECCO to offer free oral procedures as well as dental care at no charge to thousands of uninsured adults each year. The clinic is also run in partnership with the MUSC College of Dental Medicine.

Dentists volunteer there. The clinic is open a few days per week, and the services provided vary. Some of what is given includes free comprehensive oral exams, Cleanings, Health screenings, Preventive/Restorative Daytime Dental Clinic, X-Rays, Fillings, Fluoride, Tooth Extractions, and even partial dentures.

Employment programs

ECC wants people to gain self-sufficiency. Offering clients and the underemployed an opportunity to become fully prepared for landing a job or gaining new skills, the Job Readiness Workshop is run weekly in Mount Pleasant. It covers everything from Workplace expectations, Career assessments, to Resume writing classes. There is also Mock interviews held as well as Job placement services with employers such as Target, Wild Dunes, Town of Mt. Pleasant, Lowes, Cactus Car Wash, and more.

East Cooper Community Outreach also offers job training participants with In-house counseling as well as free Legal assistance. There is also Medical care, Prescription assistance programs, Dental care, as well as free clothing for work, food, and financial assistance.

Goodwill Industries as well as ECCO work in the operation of the only Job Link Center east of the Cooper. People looking for employment in Charleston County are encouraged to stop by to use computer stations as internet points. There can also meet with a staff member to receive personal assistance with submitting online applications, seeking work, creating resumes, and exploring employment opportunity listings.

ECCO financial classes and budgeting

Out-of-Poverty initiative includes debt reduction and credit classes. One service, The Money Smart Workshop is part of ECCO's program and is an essential step toward financial independence. Participants learn the basics of avoiding payday loans, credit repair, and tracking their spending. They also discover new ways to save money each month, work with the bank, and clean up their credit. Clients can also learn about various source on loans that help with bills.

The federally funded South Carolina Individual Development Account (IDA) Program is also run by East Cooper Community Outreach. The non-profit sets up a special matched savings account for each qualifying Empowerment Program participant.

For those that enroll, IDA's are special matched accounts that help low-income families and individuals establish a consistent pattern of saving money, paying debts, and building stability. The program will make savings deposits critical for stability. The money is used for the purpose of acquiring a productive asset, such as a small business, home or paying for the enrollment in a college or other post-secondary education program.

First Reliance Bank in Charleston South Carolina as well as ECCO work together to offer free advice from Credit Know-How. This will help existing clients of the agency who need to repair or establish their credit scores. The class covers how and when it is possible to negotiate a settlement for your debts; reviewing a credit report; addressing discrepancies in ratings that can appear on the report; and what steps may be the most effective to take to eliminate credit card debts or even payday loans.

General self-sufficiency is part of what East Cooper Community Outreach offers too. Programs are run in partnership with the Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation. There are tolls used to help eliminate poverty in the community. This touches on many life events that people are faced with.




The program is known as Getting Ahead Family Workshop. Clients of ECCO take stock of their current financial circumstances. Based on that review, they will then set personal goals for making the changes necessary to improve them, with the main objective of learning to plan for the future.

Individuals who go to the Family Workshop also create personal strategic plans for moving out of poverty and improving their income. There will be a free self-assessment of personal and community resources that will assist them in reaching their goals. They also learn about their roles as citizens of Eastern Charleston County as well as the importance of giving back to their own communities by volunteering or donating goods.

Serving eastern Charleston County, East Cooper Community Outreach is based at 1145 Six Mile Rd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29466. For information, dial 843-849-9220.


By Jon McNamara

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