By LOIS KINDLE
About 250 agents, staff and vendor partners of Keller Williams Realty South Shore participated in the company’s annual RED Day service project May 13. Many collected donations and others put together 355 toiletry kits for the E.C.H.O. (Emergency Care Help Organization) Service Center in Riverview, where they will be distributed to South Shore folks in need.
RED Day projects are chosen by each individual Keller Williams office across the country, based on identified needs within its own community. Agents in these offices vote to determine who their charity of choice will be for any given year.
“Our agents (who work from offices in Apollo Beach, Sun City Center and Riverview) select a charitable organization in the South Shore area to support, and we’re blessed to partner with E.C.H.O. in 2021,” said Kathy Shalosky, Keller Williams South Shore broker and team leader. “We know how fortunate we are and truly believe in the adage, ‘Give Where You Live.’”
Shalosky said her agents look forward to each RED Day project and participating in other forms of charitable giving that benefit their local community.
“People want to give back. You just need to give them the opportunity,” she said.
Beyond the service project, many of the market center’s 200 agents will make voluntary donations from their commission checks throughout the year to ECHO and about a dozen other nonprofit groups, including two corporate charities, it supports.
Last year, Keller Williams South Shore agents gave in excess of $56,000 to its charity of choice and these other groups.
Past RED Day projects have included a variety of voluntary efforts, including a supply drive for the Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort in Ruskin, refurbishing RCMA’s playground area in Wimauma; painting all of the buildings at AMI Kids in Wimauma, clearing indoor and outdoor spaces for Haven of Hope in Ruskin, painting interior/exterior surfaces and landscaping at My Warrior’s Place in Ruskin and others.
“We were so excited to be selected as Keller Williams South Shore’s beneficiary this year,” said Steve McKinnon, E.C.H.O.’s South County (Riverview) Center director. “All of the hygiene kits we received (as a result of RED Day) will go directly to people who need them in Riverview, Sun City Center, Ruskin and Apollo Beach.”
E.C.H.O. was founded in Brandon in 1987 to provide emergency services to people who had undergone some kind of crisis and been referred by churches and other groups to a central location to get help with food and clothing – people who were suffering income losses due to a recent job loss or health issues or were undergoing other hardships.
A second location in Riverview was added in September 2018. Between the two centers, residents of 17 zip codes are served.
The organization now offers an after-crisis, life-stabilizing program that includes everything from GED classes, employment assistance, financial counseling, computer access and referrals to other resources, McKinnon said.
“People in crisis of any kind receive a week’s worth of food and clothing for everyone in the family,” McKinnon said. “And the second part of our mission includes helping them recover when their crisis is over.”
For more information on E.C.H.O. or to make a charitable donation to its ongoing efforts, visit www.echofl.org/.
For more information on Keller Williams Realty South Shore, visit www.kwsouthshore.com/.