BRANDON, Fla. — "They need someone, they need that support, and we are that support for them," Iris Thurman, Director of Advocacy ECHO Brandon, said.
ECHO of Brandon, Emergency Care Help Organization, is helping families in Hillsborough County that are in need of help.
Thurman said to her, and the entire organization, the people they're helping are neighbors.
"My children love Iris, Iris has helped us," said Shanel Tackore-Joesph. "Making sure our rent was paid, food on the table, all of the above."
Tackore-Joesph separated from her husband of 19 years in January and suddenly found herself a single mother of five.
"I would probably be homeless right now, and that’s the truth," said Tackore-Joesph when asked where she would be without Thurman's help.
Thurman has a Bachelor's degree in business and a Master's in health care management. Yet, what makes her the most qualified to be the liaison to help is because she knows what it's like.
"I let them know all the time, no judgment here, I was once where you are, and look at me. And so that’s so important," Thurman said.
ECHO has a food pantry and consignment shop on-site at its location at 507 N Parsons Ave. in Brandon.
"It’s more to their story, sometimes we have people coming in for food and clothing, but they are sleeping in their car, so how are we assisting them?" Thurman said.
The answer? Partnerships with Metropolitan Ministries, CareerSource and Hillsborough County Schools.
"There’s just not a lot of information out there, they don’t know where to go," Thurman said. "Well, we help them find those resources."
Click here to learn more and find out how you can aid ECHO in helping the community.