North Ellis County Outreach is a Christ-centered community supported ministry that is changing lives, instilling hope and providing encouragement as a means of promoting
The vision of North Ellis County Outreach is to incorporate the community in a Christian ministry to eliminate poverty
and social deficiencies.
In 1979, “Helping Hands of Red Oak/Ovilla” was started by a group of concerned citizens and church leaders for the distribution of food, Christmas, clothing and minimal financial aid to the needy in the North Ellis County communities. For several years the organization operated out of private homes, churches, donated space and garages. This somewhat informal assistance continued operating until the late-nineties when it merged with another social service organization called “Red Oak Area Outreach.” With a broader base and combined resources, the two groups continued to serve the neediest in their community. In 2000, North Ellis County Outreach (NECO) was born and Denise Butler, who had served as a board member of the organization became its first Executive Director. The service area of NECO includes the towns of Red Oak, Ovilla, Ferris, Oak Leaf and Glenn Heights. It also includes two school districts: Red Oak and Ferris.
Over the years, NECO has worked hard to establish credibility and to win the confidence of a donor base which now includes approximately 25 churches, many individual donations, TXU Energy Assistance Program and the North Texas Food Bank. 100% of these donations directly benefit the clients who seek assistance from the agency. Overhead and administrative costs are covered by a thrift store that has been operated by NECO for the last fourteen years. The store and outreach office is located centrally, in Red Oak. The present facility is approximately 8,300 square feet and NECO owns the building.
In January 2015, a satellite office was opened to service the eastern side of the service area and is located at 205 South Main Street. It will be open two days a week and provide food, utility and rental assistance as well as give the opportunity to register for special programs.
The thrift store, “Pennies from Heaven” (PFH) is a success story that many non-profit organizations would envy. In 2000, when Executive Director, Denise Butler was hired, gross receipts for the thrift store were approximately $54,000.00 per year. In 2009, the store grossed more than $257,000. The store is the grateful recipient of donations of used clothing and shoes, house wares, knick-knacks, toys and working appliances. Proceeds from the thrift store provide for all the overhead of the organization. NECO has an established reputation within the region and donations to the thrift store are a regular part of numerous families’ philanthropic giving each year. The community response has been a blessing.