Happy Thanksgiving!

CCO Thanksgiving graphicHappy Thanksgiving from the staff, volunteers, and shelter guests at CCO! We are thankful for your support, involvement, time, energy, and efforts on behalf of the work we do. CCO families and individuals will be enjoying a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. You’re involvement helps provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and essential supportive services to those sheltered at CCO. Please consider donating today. Thank you!

Unique Gift Giving at CCO

Merry Christmas

We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!

We have a unique approach to gift giving at CCO. Instead of giving out gifts to the children ourselves. Gifts are delivered to the parents of each family wrapped and labeled. They are then able to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. This simple shift in gift giving has really encouraged parents, which is especially important while they are experiencing homelessness.

Of course, parents aren’t left out! Many of our generous donors shop for special items that will make parents feel cared for over the holidays. One faithful donor has purchased new, fluffy robes for each of the mothers in our Hannah House program for years! This gift is always a hit.

Our single men and single women’s shelter programs always have a Christmas party that includes gift items, practical necessities, festive food, and music. The women even have a holiday talent show with singing, dancing and prizes!

We want everyone to feel loved and cared for. This is especially important as they experience homelessness. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered time, purchased new gift items, or financially donated to make the Holiday’s bright at CCO!

If you haven’t donated and you’d like to click here. Thank you!

Willow Creek Christmas Celebration!

Willow Creek

Nearly 100 Willow Creek Church volunteers created a fun and festive Christmas celebration for the families at CCO. Some of the moms sheltered with us got manicures and gifts were brought and given to over 130 children. The group brought supplies for each of the children to put together sweet, little gingerbread houses complete with candy decorations and icing. Other activities included, cooking decorating and painting.

Another group of volunteers worked in the Free Store organizing donated items for our shelter guests and neighbors in need. The Free Store offers gently-used clothing and household items that come to CCO through out donors. Hundreds of people get their needs met through the CCO Free Store each year!

Thank you Willow Creek Church!

Letter from CCO’s Executive Director

Executive Director Sandra Ramsey

Dear Friends:
The staff, volunteers, and shelter guests at CCO would like to wish you a Happy Holiday! Without you we would not be able to offer safe shelter, nutritious meals, and many other necessary and practical services for the homeless families and singles that come through our doors.

At CCO work begins long before December to make a joyous holiday for all. You make it possible for those sheltered with us to feel cared for and remembered. Chrissy, one little girl, has asked for a play kitchen set. She will be overjoyed when she sees the pink kitchen with stove, refrigerator, and cupboard that have already arrived for her. Chrissy and nearly 150 children are sheltered at CCO with their families and we strive to make the season bright for each one of them, especially while they are homeless. Many of you have given goods or a financial gift that will help make the holiday special for our families. They can expect holiday treats, special meals, gifts, and outstanding events.

Mike, one our former clients who had been homeless for six years, is looking forward to the holidays in his new apartment. We often see him on the street in our neighborhood. We know he is now coming from or going to his new apartment. Denise, a former CCO resident, who was featured in our last newsletter, continues to work and is looking forward to putting up holiday decorations in her apartment after spending three Christmases homeless in her outdoor storage unit. On any given day, over 145 single men and women are sheltered at CCO. We don’t want anyone to be forgotten or overlooked at the holidays. Our single shelter guests will be enjoying a fabulous Christmas party with festive food, special treats, holiday music, and gifts.

In addition to our two family and two single shelter programs, we respond to the cold weather by having an Outreach Program that bring those on the streets inside. It is truly an emergency search and rescue operation on the coldest nights. The men who are part of our Outreach Program can look forward to all the goodies and additional blessings that Christmas at CCO brings.

All of these special events take place in the midst of our day-to-day efforts to help our families and singles reach permanent housing. All the referrals, advocacy, and individualized help that takes place between homelessness and housing are still happening each day.

We can easily think, “What can I do?” The needs around us can seem overwhelming. On a practical level, you can do what you have been doing all year. You can give $1, $10, $100, or $1,000. Your donation, no matter how small or large, will help our shelter guests experience a brighter holiday season and bring them closer to the housing that would be at the top of each of their Christmas lists.

Sincerely,

Sandra J. Ramsey CCO Executive Director

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

CCO Thanksgiving graphic

Gratitude is the sign of a noble heart! – Aesop

At CCO, we will celebrating the day of gratitude with turkey and all the trimmings. We have so much to be grateful for. Visit our Gratitude Tree post to see what  our shelter guests are thankful for. What are you thankful for?

We hope you have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving holiday! As you prepare for the special day please remember the families and individuals who will be celebrating the holiday at CCO. Your gifts allows us to provide safe shelter, basic necessities, and special holiday events, to the children, men, and women we welcome.

Christmas at CCO!

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Over 130 children and youth are sheltered with their parents at CCO, during the holidays and all throughout the year. Our donors, volunteers, and supporters have always been a valuable part of making the season bright for each and every child. Holiday work starts as early as September with individuals and groups contacting Eve, our Christmas coordinator, anxious to gather new toys and basic necessities for the families sheltered with us. As the gifts begin to arrive in December, Eve and her group of volunteers, wrap, organize and sort the gifts into family groups. It takes a lot of hours and input to make Christmas shine. Then the gifts are delivered to the parents of each family to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!
The giving doesn’t stop with the families. The residents of our single women and single men’s shelter are no less important. Each program celebrates with a festive party that includes decorations, a delicious holiday meal and gifts. Everyone is valued and no one is left out.
As you celebrate the holidays this year remember CCO and considering making a holiday or year-end donation. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and you will have the knowledge that you are a part of making the holidays and every day brighter for our shelter guests.

Thank you!

CCO Men Celebrated at Holiday Dinner!

Men's Shelter Christmas Party blogger-image--1639520058
On Friday we had our annual Christmas party for the men who stay with us at Cornerstone. It was also attended by those who were once homeless and are now housed, and also by some of the homeless men who sleep outside in the neighborhood.
We had a great meal of bbq chicken, pork chops, mac’n’cheese, spaghetti, rolls, salad and cake. It was delicious and they all loved it.
Each man received a bag with a variety of gifts. We were able to give away presents like hoodies, hats, gloves, scarves, high quality dress-shirts and pants, peanuts, chocolates, flashlights, hygiene kits, gift cards and many other things.
Everyone who attended was incredibly grateful and had a wonderful time. They kept saying “thank you” over and over again!
Men who are experiencing homelessness, are often ignored and forgotten during the Christmas season. Many of these men do not expect anything. They, unfortunately, are expecting to be ignored and forgotten again.
So, it is always a joy to be part of this and to surprise them. It is always a joy to see the unexpected delight and happiness form on their faces, knowing they have been remembered and loved!
….and isn’t this what Christmas is all about?

….isn’t this why the Christ Child came into the world, bringing a new Kingdom of Love? A Kingdom that elevates, saves and surprises those who are sick, marginalized and abandoned?
Surprising people in our dark world, with unexpected rays of love and light!
Surprising people, who think all is lost, with new gifts and new hope!
Surprising people, who’ve been cast aside by this world, by remembering them and making sure they know they are loved and not forgotten!

“Sharing the Holiday Spirit” from Chade Foundation

The Chade Foundation, the charitable arm of Chade Fashions and the Chicagoland Korean Beauty Supply Industry, held it’s 5th annual “Sharing the Holiday Spirit” Food Drive. This 2 day event saw the distribution of over 1500 holiday food baskets and turkeys to various organizations throughout Chicago. Cornerstone received 60 of these, which will make the holidays brighter for those we serve.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Greeting

Happy Thanksgiving!

“We are so thankful!” This may be a surprising comment to hear from someone who is homeless and living in a shelter over the Holiday Season. The truth is, we hear it often. This statement and others like it are examples of the sincerity, resilience and determination of our shelter guests. We are grateful to see them rise up each day and try to take steps toward self-sufficiency and stable housing. We are grateful to be able to help our shelter guests in their journey and we are grateful to you, our donors, for giving us the support we need to carry on with this critical work.

Please consider donating today. Thank you!

Fighting Hunger Everyday!

CCO Kitchen

This week, many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving by enjoying a special meal with friends and family. CCO shelter guests are no exception. We are planning a yummy Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. While Thanksgiving is a special day with a special meal, everyday nutritious meals are served from the CCO kitchen. We are honored to fight hunger by preparing and serving food to hundreds of shelter guests each day.

For over 15 years CCO has enjoyed a valuable partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). The GCFD is Chicago’s food bank supplying over 650 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across the city. From July 2013 through June 2014 CCO received 502,000 pounds of food from GCFD, with an estimated value of $806,000. Fresh fruits and vegetables accounted for 25% of the total. Through our fabulous Hunger Walkers, grants and subsidies, we paid nothing for these valuable food items and have a remaining food credit of $1,506. The benefits are astonishing! We want to say a special thank you to our Hunger Walkers, GCFD, and all who have served or supported our meal programs. Thank you!