BRANDON, Fla. — Call it holiday shopping for a good cause: Echo of Brandon, a nonprofit that helps feed, clothe and employ people in need, has started a new handbag and jewelry line.
Echo Handmade, the merchandise line uses donated clothing and housewares…and turns them into wearable art.
Profits go towards Echo’s social services, including a food pantry and employment office.
Even better, the artisans are Echo of Brandon clients looking for work.
“It makes me feel nice, makes me feel needed,” says Frank Jones, 60, whose financial and health struggles turned for the better when he found his true creative calling. “It’s a blessing. Now all I want to do is give back.”
Frank was given a few lessons by a local artist – but now he’s in charge of making leather bracelets with metal slogans…and, most recently, Christmas ornaments.
He gets paid per piece he makes…whether they sell or not. (But they have been selling, keeping him busy.)
The employment allowed him to buy a car and make a very special visit.
“I hadn’t seen my family in 11 years,” says Frank. “I went to Jacksonville this past Thanksgiving and connected back with my family.”