Are you interested in donating new hygiene items to our shelter guests? Many of the families and individual who arrive at CCO lack the basic necessities. Ildevert arrived at CCO and he was without essentials, including clothing, hygiene supplies, and other essentials. Read Ildevert’s incredible story by clicking here.
If you would like to be a part of meeting this on-going need, please drop-off new soap, deodorant, disposable razors, or shampoo at 4628 N. Clifton Avenue. Thank you!
Santa Program is at it again, making a difference for the children!
Back to School New Shoes Fundraising Program.
“We’re fundraising to buy new back to school shoes for as many of the children at CCO as we can this year.
All donations through the link on this page will be used by the social workers to take the neediest of children on a shopping spree to buy one pair of new shoes (and maybe a pair of new socks if we raise enough money). We all know the back to school shopping is chaotic, but please take a moment to help at least one child start the new year with a brand new pair of shoes.” *
In the 1960’s John F. Kennedy brought the issue of hunger and poverty to the forefront of American politics. He did so by reestablishing the Food Stamp Program that had begun several decades before. This government subsidized program has gone through several changes since its inception. In 2008, the Food Stamp Program became known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program has assisted hungry families and individuals throughout America to purchase nutritious foods from participating stores. Food assistance is offered to people at or below the poverty line.
In recent years these vital programs have been significantly reduced. In 2013, the federal government reduced the SNAP program by 5%. This may seem like a small reduction, but studies conducted by Feed America and the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) reflect a significant number of families and individuals who visit food pantries in order to pay for necessities, such as, medication, transportation, school, and utilities. We have found this to be true among our pantry attendees at CCO.
Food assistance for many people is a homeless prevention program. Meaning that a growing number of folks need consistent on-going food assistance in order to pay rent or cover the very basics of life. CCO’s food pantry program is one of our longest running services. We are grateful to be a positive help to our neighbors in need. Our weekly pantry is filled with nutritious foods, including fresh produce, from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The pantry is entirely staffed by faithful, hard working volunteers, some of attended the pantry in past years.
The food items and work force are provided without charge but we do have utility and security expenses. Consider donating today! Be a part of the good things that are happening every day at CCO!
Chicago is experiencing record-breaking cold weather conditions. In the early mornings and evenings outreach staff continue to visit the viaducts, loading docks, and underpasses in our area to get our homeless friends living on the streets inside and out of danger. As always, CCO has remained open and outreach workers will be working throughout the sub-zero temperatures.
CCO believes that affordable housing is a human right. Until housing is secured people should be offered safe, warm shelter, nutritious meals and services that can stabilize their lives and promote a brighter future.
“King” escaping deadly cold and welcomed into CCO Warming Center.
CCO’s Extreme Cold Search & Rescue
“Thank you for bringing me in. If you hadn’t, I think my hands would have gotten frostbite.”
The cold weather is inconvenient for us all but for homeless people, especially those living outside, it can be deadly. Each winter CCO responds to the cold weather by welcoming our friends on the street into a warm, dry space. Sandy Ramsey, CCO Executive Director, and Jeremy Nicholls, CCO Outreach Worker, searches the local viaducts, loading docks, and under passes to bring in those living outside in dangerous weather. Many are rescued from the frigid conditions by these late night search and rescue operations.
CCO Outreach Working encouraging someone to come in from the cold.
CCO Outreach Worker asking someone to come into the Warming Center.
One of several people who came into the Warming Center at CCO during the deadly cold.
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.
Every 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!
The 2013 CCO Annual Report is here! Inside the Annual Report you will find a letter from our Executive Director, program and service information, encouraging stories from successful CCO alumni, 2013 awards, volunteer, donor and financial information.
On behalf of the staff and shelter guests of CCO, we would like to thank everyone who give time and funds in a variety of ways in 2013. Thank you!
“Veteran homelessness is down 24% since 2010,” according to the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. “VA cannot do it alone. Organizations and individuals in communities across the country are integral to providing services to Veterans and spreading the word about the resources VA provides to end and prevent homelessness among Veterans.”
CCO is proud to network and collaborate with the US Veteran’s Administration. Every other week VA workers come on-site and meet with veterans regarding housing, benefits, medical and mental health services.This statement if from the US Department of Veterans Affairs website.
To learn more about the Veteran Administrations “Help for Homeless Veterans Campaign, click here.