Merrell Down & Dirty Obstacle Race

Merrell Down & Dirty 2014

Ted Jindrich has been a volunteer at CCO for over 20 years. As a member of Team CCO, Ted will be running the Merrell Down and Dirty Obstacle Race this weekend. In this video he shares about his own volunteer history with CCO and the trends in homelessness he’s seen as he has served our shelter residents. Ted has done a range of work for our shelter guests, from painting and construction to beautiful landscaping. Support Team CCO today by making a donation for Ted’s charitable fitness run!

Click here to watch Ted’s video.

Click here to make a donation to Team CCO via CrowdRise.

Thank you!

Can a few dollars make a difference?

Transportation for shelter guests

Your donation makes a huge difference in the day to day lives of our shelter guests. Your dollars work to improve the ability of our families and individuals by providing food, shelter, transportation, medication, intensive case management services, to name just a few. Please consider donating today. Thank you!

Alleviating Hunger in Chicago

 

CCO Food Pantry

Each week the CCO Food Pantry provides nutritious food items to over 150 pantry attendees. “Grammy”, pictured in blue, has been a long time pantry volunteer. She works weekly along with a small army of folks who give their time to offer food with a smile and a word of encouragement.

Would you like to volunteer to serve at CCO? Click here if you would like more information on volunteering your time and energy.

Are you interested in joining Team CCO at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk? The Hunger Walk is a 3.1 mile walk through Chicago’s beautiful downtown, lake front area. Each person walking for CCO will increase our food credit by 224 pounds with the Food Depot. The credit is used to purchase food for our shelter guests, food pantry patrons and dinner guests. Click here for more info about the Hunger Walk.

Thank you!

Join Us For The Hunger Walk!

2013 hunger walk

29th Annual Hunger Walk

Last year, over 120 fabulous CCO volunteers walked 3.1 miles at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk. Over 25,000 pounds of food went to good use within our shelter programs, food pantry patron and dinner guest program. Join us this year!

Save the date! This year’s Hunger Walk will take place June 21, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Join us and help alleviate hunger in Chicago. Email Eve at eve@ccolife.org for more information!

 

Thank you, CBRE and Rebuilding Together!

A group of 200 energized and effective volunteers from CBRE and Rebuilding Together came to CCO yesterday and tackled multiple projects. Volunteers worked to put additional surface padding on CCO’s rooftop playground, stained outdoor furniture, filled planters with flowers to beautify outdoor space. In the Sylvia Center volunteers painted just about everything, including hallways, bathrooms, common spaces and walkways. The group created colorful art installations to be hung throughout CCO and made a useful and fun space for toddlers with parents and another space for teens.

In addition to purchasing their own supplies and working with gusto these groups bought lunch not only for themselves but also local dignitaries, CCO shelter guests and staff. We want to say a special thank you to Chad Ruckauf from CBRE. He worked alongside CCO staff to plan this huge endeavor. His compassion, determination and listening skills made it all possible. Thanks, Chad!

We are so amazed by the transformation and grateful for the positive energy and amazing results these groups brought to us! CCO staff member, Mary Davenport, wrote beautifully about the volunteer work and its impact on our shelter residents and staff. Click here to read her story. Thank you!

Keep checking back! The work goes on and more spaces are being finished. We’ll be posting new images soon!

 

Restoration at CCO

CBRE & Rebuilding Together

Mary Davenport, CCO Case work Supervisor, writes beautifully about the restoration efforts of two very special volunteer groups, CBRE and Rebuilding Together. She expresses the impact their efforts had on our shelter residents and herself. Take a moment to read this interesting peek into CCO life…

     Today 200+ volunteers came and brought much needed visual hope to my shelter. Fresh paint gives people a new reason not to mark on the walls. 2 new hang out spaces give our kids a place, other than the one room they share with their family, to just be. New flowers tell our neighborhood that we care enough to make the outside welcoming to the eye. A redone play area gives our kids fun in the summer. 200+ people came and worked hard to show our residents that they are valuable. Each volunteer was excited to help. Each and everyone one of them gave me new excitement and reminding me that others care too. The volunteers don’t have any personal stake in the day to day lives of our shelter residents. They will probably never see any of them again. They didn’t get to witness the very first kid come home from school and light up with excitement at the new space filled with books and brightly colored walls made especially for him. I will see the kids use those spaces. I will hear the residents say how much better it looks. I will bare witness to the benefits of the hard work done by others. This is where my restoration came from today.

     While all of this was happening, I got a phone call from a former resident. Her husband has become addicted to heroin. She finally had to leave him and take their young child to a safe place. She’s almost broke and family can only help so much. She called to see if we had shelter space for her family and to be encouraged. As we spoke, I said what I always say, “Put your child first and it will be alright”. They are such simple words to me. I say them so often I feel like I’m on auto pilot. She broke down on the phone. She felt so guilty that she had walked away from her husband to save her son. The words reminded her of what she already knew, the most right thing is to always put her child first.

     As my day came to a close I was leaving my office. I saw a brand new resident and introduce myself. We started to chat and he laid it all out. He’s scared. He doesn’t know how he even ended up here with his only child. I could see the fear in his eyes and I could hear it in his voice. He kept saying, “I don’t mean to be disrespectful or seem too good to be here.” He told me he didn’t want his son to stay at the shelter. His child’s mother is new to sobriety and he is considering letting his son return to living with her full time. He wants to keep his son with him. He wanted me to tell him what the right thing to do is. I heard the words coming out of my mouth again. “Put your child first and it will be alright”. He lost it. I could see the worry leave him. Visually he seemed lighter. Those words didn’t change his situation. They simply reminded him of what he already knew, the most right thing is to always put his child first. This is where my restoration came from today.

– Mary Davenport, Sylvia Center Program Director

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day 2014Every day at CCO, we are privileged to see mothers persevering against the odds, diligently working to secure housing and moving closer to a better life for their families.

On this special holiday, please consider making a financial donation that will help moms and their families get one step closer to a stable home. Join us as we provide safe shelter, nutritious meals and critical case management services to over 65 mothers living on our programs. Thank you!

 

CCO Residents Art Event!

CCO shelter guests hosted an inspiring and original art event last Saturday, April 26 from 5-8pm. The event took place at Epworth United Methodist Church in Chicago.

Greg Palmer organized the event and showcased his artwork. He had several portraits of celebrities along with some abstract art. His work will be on exhibit on May 24 at the Creative CoWorker in Evanston, Illinois. The uniquely urban artwork of Shawn Price was displayed along with his original play. Also, Quwa displayed his work at the event and said that he always adds a spiritual element to his pieces. His most recent focus is on natural meditation pads.

We are very proud of the three men who shared their artistic endeavors with the public. It was an inspiring and encouraging evening!