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2009 Top-Rated Nonprofit

VISTO

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Service Clubs, Emergency Assistance, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: VISTO was created in the 1980’s by the Ministerial Alliance with the mission: “to help people get through times of crises and enable them to get back on their feet.” This is still our mission today. The primary way that we respond to that mandate is through food. VISTO operates and maintains Cooke County’s emergency food bank.

Geographic areas served: Cooke County

Programs: Program expenses include payments to or for clients for groceries, housing, utilities, and prescriptions and the cost of support services to administer those programs.

program expenses also include fmv of donated food which is distributed to clients.

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have heard many stories of how VISTO has helped the members of the community and of the great projects that they do. I would gladly recommend them to anyone that needed help. Keep up the great work!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been in volenved with VISTO since 2005 I have observed our Director filliong many different hats and alwys putting the clients first in her helping hands and in her prayers. Our community is very lucky to have such devoted and caring people that really go the last mile to get help where and when help is needed. I really enjoy the few hours a week I get to help VISTO with what ever they need me to do.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been involved with VISTO since June and have found the organization totally devoted to helping feed the community and do what they can to help families and individuals in ways they can. I have helped them towards their goals; "No one left behind". I will stay with them as long as I can and whenever I can. I've asked and encouraged others to help any way they can. Please doe whatever you can to help this organization.

8

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

VISTO fulfills their mission statement and has an excellent staff. The executive director of this organization will go the extra mile to provide assistance to anyone in need meeting their criteria. These are civic minded leaders who network across our county with other non-profits and organizations. They are professional and compassionate people who give freely above and beyond the call of duty and ministry. They make the most of their budget and fundraising efforts to pass the benefit onto their clients. They work hard to meet the challenge of crisis situations and a difficult economy. This staff looks at the whole situation in a client's life and will do their best to refer to other organizations and share resources or make connections to improve services other charities provide. Cooke County is very fortunate to blessed with VISTO and it is an exceptional organization in which to volunteer and know that you have spent your time most productively to make a difference in the lives of others. They have a wonderful education program as well.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for VISTO for several years by donating food or coordinating food drives.I have known of several students that have received help. They have all been very complimentary of VISTO and the employees. What a great service VISTO provides our community!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is so amazing to see VISTO in action. I help deliver backpacks filled with food for needy children in this area. Without this program some of these children will not have food for meals on the weekends. To see their faces shine when they receive the backpack is so amazing! Thanks VISTO for all you do!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Abigail's Arms - Cooke County Family Crisis Center is the local non-profit victims assistance center for Cooke County. We currently do not have a emergency shelter for victims in our county. On many occasions we have clients who are in need of food and emergency shelter. We know that if we call VISTO that they are ready and willing assist our clients with their needs. VISTO has given countless victims in Cooke County food and other assistance. They have also provided emergency motel shelter for victims on many occasions throughout the year. Recently our agencies partnered to begin the Pathways Project, designed to break the cycle of poverty and abuse. We appreciate VISTO's willingness to attack the problems from the root, not just the crisis.

8

Board Member

Rating: 4

I am gifted with the opportunity to serve on the VISTO board, which is one of my favorite highlights of ministering in Cooke County. VISTO is clearly the most influential mission center for our city and outlying areas. As a Christian minister, I consider VISTO a strong ally in the ministry and mission of the ecumenical church in Gainesville, and gladly put my trust in VISTO when we refer folks in need to them, and when we send resources. VISTO is effective and efficient at fulfilling its mission, and deserves all the support it can get in order to keep up with the needs of our community. Volunteers, food donations, financial gifts, prayers…that’s the fuel VISTO needs to better serve “the least of these among us.”

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

without Visto in cooke county their would be so many children,senior citizens,and families hungry and no way to pay their rent.Thank you Visto director and staff for the passion you have for helping others. The backpack buddy program in making sure kids eat over the weekend.Pathway reaching into others lives trying to make a differance,showing them options and plans.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Visto plays a very important role in our community and is always looking for ways to help even more. Our director steps outside the box and looks in, she is very efficient in seeing new needs and pulling it together. Visto not only serves family food to cook, they also help in emergency cases with utilities or rent, they have the BackPack Buddy Program for school children who would be without food on the weekend. The Visto program has partnered with Abigail's Arms, local domestic violence program and started a program, Pathways. Volunteers take course work and work with individual families for 5 months, to help them with self enpowerment, self improvement. This will help stablize a family as a nucleus and not be dysfunctional as they will learn new tools to help them achieve this goal. There are so many ways to volunteer for visto, there is a spot for any individual and as the Director has shown over the last several yeaars, there are many more to come. Visto is not just a name in Gainsville, Texas, it is Life and service to others and this community is very blessed as times have become harder and Visto has become stronger.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Visto has always been gracious and helpful in so many areas of our community. The director is always willing to help people to better themselves. She is a very selfless person who is careing and giving in all aspects of her personal and professional life. Visto is a great asset to our community with countless programs that benefit the young and old.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a minister in Gainesville for the past 7+ years, I am in regular contact with members of the congregation and members of the community who are in need. VISTO has always been a reliable and trusted partner in serving those needs. The staff always treats their supporters, volunteers and clients with the same degree of professionalism and respect. The staff also consistently impress me with their ability to maximize every donation received, whether food, money or time. Nothing is wasted. Also, they are constantly searching for new and different ways to improve their service as well as the lives of the people and the community they serve. It is an honor and a privilege to partner with an organization like VISTO.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I live in a great town. It has problems like other town but it has a heart that is beautiful. In no other town would they had a backpack program to feed our school children over the weekend. Our VISTO has wonderful events to help fund this and other programs for VISTO.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

VISTO has always been there to support our local Veterans who may be in need. We need them, the Veterans need them, the homeless need them. ENUF Said!!!! Way to go VISTO!!!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have worked very closely with this agency for years. I refer customers to this agency on a weekly basis, with the downturn of the economy I'm finding myself referring much more often. I know the customers needs will be taken care of when I refer to this agency. They provide a great service to our community.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I also work for a non profit agency and i have needed to refer people to VISTO on numerous occasions and they have always done what they could to help. I've needed to just obtain information and they are always willing to help. The care for our society shows through the people who work for VISTO. We are lucky to have them!!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at VISTO for a few years now. I enjoy coming into the office and helping those in need with some basic essentials like food. Their look of gratitude says it all for me! What hope VISTO gives to the hurting heart and hungry stomachs! (And more.) I have worked in the non-profit world for several years. I know that VISTO has sound financial practices and excellent policies and procedures. You could not ask for a better group of caring staff! I especially like the Backpack Buddy Program which helps provide food for the weekend for school age participants and their siblings. These nutritional snacks are often the only source of nutrition these kids have over the weekend. This little act of kindness makes a big difference to many families and also helps the kids do better in school. Pigs for Jesus is another favorite of mine because it takes locally raised pigs and distributes the meat to many different families in this area. It is true evidence that a little goes a long way! I could go on and on bragging about VISTO. But I encourage you to come in for yourself and help stop hunger!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Cooke County have the privilege to work with VISTO. This summer we worked with them to be sure none of our kids went hungry. The backpack program works great for our kids. Not only through that program do we work with VISTO but for the daily needs of our parents. Many of our parents need assistance keeping their family feed and warm. VISTO helps the parents help themselves. It is great to have an organization dedicated to stopping hunger in our community.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Awesome group that helps local families with food and other necessities. They also have a backpack program for school kids who do not have enough food at home. Wonderful organization!