ECHO emergency assistance programs.

While basic needs such as food, clothing, and referrals are a focus of ECHO - Emergency Care Help Organization, the faith based agency may on occasion be able to offer financial help or even loans to certain families. Any applications to the agency or the churches need to be as a last resort, and the individual will need to help some form of income so they can sustain their future bills on their own.

The Leon County based agency can also direct families to various government programs, ranging from LIHEAP for heating/cooling bills to section 8 housing vouchers, Family Services, food stamps, or Meals on Wheels for the homebound. The goal of ECHO is to both empower families living in poverty will coordinating temporary relief.

Emergency Care Help Organization Weekend Meals and Snack Pack Program was created to help students from low income families that may not have a meal over the weekend. There is also food for the homeless from the Kearney Center, and this takes place on Saturday and Sunday year round.

With too many children arriving at school on Mondays with stomach aches or fatigue, the program was created to stop this. It is also focused on feeding the homeless as well as Leon County residents living in poverty. Having a healthy meal over the weekend can go a long way to solve this.

The service, which is funded by the USDA as well as donations, provides healthy, easy to prepare, and kid-friendly snack foods to children in the city of Tallahassee at risk of hunger. It is confidential as well. Teachers that participate as well as the school systems will discreetly place the groceries or healthy food into their backpack, and then the child will just bring in home for the weekend. The focus is on doing this discreetly so their peers do not even know what is occurring.

Adult members of low-income working families or the underemployed who are committed to increasing their income to they can gain greater economic self-sufficiency can enroll into the Family Services Program. This is a fee based service held at the Renaissance Community Center. It will last for a number of months so clients can acquire the skills necessary to obtain jobs in high-demand fields. It also addresses the need for affordable housing in Tallahassee.




The goal is to find a position in Leon County Florida that offers living wages and benefits that include health insurance. It also encourages clients to save money and budget, among other things.

  • This program from ECHO requires a willingness to make a strong effort in the short-term to combine job training, work, and raising families, in exchange for greater long-term economic benefits.
  • Case managers also work on the development of individualized training plans; job-search support; help with improving problem-solving skills; career assessment; and access to community resources.

Churches from Emergency Care Help Organization, using United Way and other grants, supports these endeavors by covering the costs of classes and training that serve to enhance employability. They may also have grants to pay for the of training-related transportation as well as child care.

ECHO Holiday programs, ranging from Easter to Thanksgiving and maybe the largest, Christmas, are arranged by churches. The main objective is to offer a reason for everyone to celebrate. Whether it is a teen, child, mentally ill resident, or senior citizen, everybody should have the joy of the holidays.

The charity may be able to assist families in the Leon County Florida area who are struggling. This is even more pronounced during the holidays. So donations can help people keep their families clothed, fed and housed.  It depends on companies, individuals, and religious groups, but what may be offered is as follows.

  • Adopt a Family may offer meals, household goods, clothing, and toys.
  • Children can be selected as part of this, and they can be provided a toy, game, or something they need/want.
  • Thanksgiving turkeys and/or Christmas meals or food baskets are offered by ECHO partners.
  • Seniors and those in a nursing home can get a visitor for companionship.





Food, hygiene needs, requests for medical equipment and more can be met from ECHO Emergency Resource Center. This is a season service that offers crutches, heaters, free diapers or car seats, Sponsor a Child, Goodwill vouchers and other basic needs. It relies on ongoing contributions from the community.

The donor will be given the child’s or family members gender, age, clothing size, and shoe size, to be used in providing support. As noted it can range from personal hygiene goods to Christmas help, a new back-to-school outfit and shoes for the homeless. Cash and gift cards are also needed as well, along with volunteers to keep the program running.

Referrals are given as well. The churches that are part of ECHO have staff that direct clients to affordable housing or resources for paying utility bills. Another focus is on feeding the homeless and working poor, so access to food banks can often be arranged.

The new center created by ECHO is at 1707 S. Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301. Call the churches or charity at (850) 224-3246.




By Jon McNamara

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