Population boom pushes community outreach center to expand

Population boom pushes community outreach center to expand

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO) is undergoing renovation to double its size.

After a donation, ECCO is adding 70 shelves, capable of hold 1,500 pounds each. Last year, the center gave out 200,000 pounds of food and the numbers keep increasing.

"The need has gotten greater, so a lot of this whole remodel is to avoid that situation so we can continue offering a selection and meeting the needs of our clients," Rachel Vane, the Volunteer Outreach Director said.

According to US Census Data, Mount Pleasant's population was around 47-thousand in 2000, but by 2010 has jumped all the way up to 68-thousand and in 20-12, had almost hit 72-thousand and the center has started seeing more empty shelves.

Vane added that the economy is also pushing more people to ECCO.

"We're seeing people who maybe have needed just clothing or they've been to us for dental and they're coming in for food," Vane said.

The renovation comes just in time because Summer is their busiest part of the year.

"We think about hanging out at the beach, but that's not what it's like for our clients.” Vane said. “If their children have been receiving free or reduced lunch, now they've got two more meals a day, breakfast and lunch, to feed their children."

Last year the center helped feed more than 4,500 families, and hope to help even more with their new space.

Right now the center on 6 Mile Road is closed because of the renovation, but it is scheduled to reopen on Monday.

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