Team CCO Charity Tent Photo Album

Click the link above to see our Charity Tent Photo Album on Facebook!

The Team CCO Charity Team volunteers felt privileged to be a part of this year’s Chicago marathon! We are so proud of everyone on Team CCO who went 26.2 miles to help the families and singles sheltered at CCO. It’s not too late to donate. Click here see all the runners who have worked to raise funds and homeless awareness. Thank you!

Freestore Public Day : 65 Shop!

“I can find a lot of clothes for my family at the Freestore.  I don’t have to worry about going out and buying clothes while I’m homeless. I can always find something new and CCO has a good variety. That’s how I’m blessed by the Freestore.”    – Victoria, Freestore patron

Over 65 Uptown neighbors shopped through free clothing and household items last week at the Cornerstone Freestore! Your gently-used donated items make the Freestore possible.

Families and single adults sheltered at CCO shop in the Freestore each week to meet basic clothing needs. Over 80% of new shelter guests have no income and even shopping at a thrift store is not possible. The CCO Freestore stands in the gap and your donations help those in need find basic essentials that will help them find clothing for school, job training, employment interviews, or just day-to-day living.

Thank you for supporting our shelter guests and neighbors in this way! If you haven’t donated goods to CCO in the past consider donating your gently-used items. Spread the word, and let your co-workers, neighbors, and church members, know that they can donate gently-used items or financially! Click here to learn more.

If you are in need of clothing, shoes, and household items visit the Freestore on our next public day, September 28.

The Gift of Stewart Brown

(http://vimeo.com/ccolife/thegiftofstewartbrown)

A CCO Original Video by the wonderful folks at nine3nine Creative. Click to watch!

Over a decade ago, Stewart Brown, his mother, and his little sisters were homeless and needed shelter. They came to CCO, and from that moment on, Stewart has been a part of our lives, giving his all, for all of us, using his endless energy and excitement within CCO and well beyond.

Stewart is a giver. No matter the weather, the time, the location, the effort required, the distance, no matter who’s in need, no matter the sacrifice, Stewart is a giver.

Stewart gives a smile, gives a greeting, gives acceptance, gives a hug, gives food, gives a fist bump, gives a hand, gives a rebuke, gives encouragement, gives joy, gives thanks.

Stewart blesses us. He is a giver and he is our gift, Cornerstone’s gift, Uptown’s gift, and Chicago’s gift!

Thank you, Stewart, for being you!

  • Special thanks go to Nathan Cameron, Ian Harris!

Chicago Bears Visit CCO!

Staff, volunteers, and shelter guests were privileged to welcome the Chicago Bears to CCO. The seven Bears who volunteered their time and energy, brought smiles, excitement, and joy to the families and individuals at those sheltered with us. We would like to say a huge thank you to Sam Acho, John Timu, De’Vante Bausby, Jimmy Staten, Mike Adams, Adrian Amos, and Dion Bush, who served a delicious dinner, signed autographs, and gave a word of encouragement. Thanks so much to the Chicago Bears! You’re welcome to come back anytime!

Special thanks to Sean T. McGill, who donated his time and outstanding photography skills so that all of us could enjoy such a memorable evening through his photos. View his other professional photography projects by clicking here. Thank you!

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!

Surviving on the Winter Streets

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Safe shelter is important. We are privileged to offer safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive services to each person we shelter. Our Outreach Program assists those on the streets and bring many in from the cold.
Here are some words from Archie, a friend, who lived on the streets in Chicago. This is his advice for surviving on the winter streets.

“First, you have to find a lot of blankets; at least 5 or 6, but 10 or 12 would be better. Try to keep them dry. Put on all your clothes, one layer on top of another. Find a place where the wind isn’t blowing too much, like a spot against a wall. Look for a hospital with warm air vents. And if it’s raining or snowing put some cardboard under you and get some shelter over you, like an awning or overhanging. Find some more people trying to survive, because you’ll stay warmer together. Take off your wet socks and anything else that’s wet or else you’ll freeze or get frostbite. Wrap up in all your blankets and put some over your head. You don’t worry about breathing because you’re so cold. The trick is to keep the air out.

If you get a transit pass, your best bet is to ride the train. Try to find someone else to ride with you so one of you can sleep and one of you can watch your stuff. Keep your stuff on the inside seat and sit next to it. Get off the train before the end of the line so they don’t know you’re homeless or they’ll kick you off the next time you get on. Try to go unnoticed and switch trains so you can ride all night. It sounds crazy, I know, but you can do it, even when it’s below zero outside. You can make it.”
– Archie

Hunger & Food Assistance

CCO Food Pantry

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!

Thank you!

CeaseFire, Critical Violence Prevention

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Treating the contagion of violence. — CeaseFire

CeaseFire, is a global organization that works to reduce or interrupt violence, focus on high-risk areas, and create change through building relationships. CCO has welcomed Cure Violence staff into our shelter. They’ve conducted workshops and talked individually with our shelter guests about violence prevention. Their work has had an outstanding and unparalleled impact on our shelter guests and our surrounding neighborhood.

Recently, we found out that Illinois funding for CeaseFire programs has stopped. This is a devastating blow to an organization who’s sole purpose is community safety, improvement, and support. Organizations like CeaseFire create healthier communities and safer neighborhoods through violence prevention.

CeaseFire began their first program in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. They witnessed at 67% drop in gun violence and deaths. The program was then duplicated in four more neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods gun violence was reduced by 42%. CeaseFire has been active in 18 Chicago neighborhoods. The loss of their funding will cripple peace keeping efforts in our neighborhoods and increase gun violence and death.

To learn more about CeaseFire go to their website by clicking here.

Find out more about their award-winning documentary, The Interrupters.

Gary Slutkin, M.D., Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at the University of Illinois/ Chicago School of Public Health, is the original founder of CeaseFire. To learn more about his approach to violence watch his TedTalk, “Can Violence Be Cured?”

View CeaseFire testimonials here.

 

Snow Blower Anyone?

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The Chicago Blizzard of 2015 has turned out to be the fifth biggest snow storm in Chicago history. Over 19 inches of snow fell on our fair city. On Monday everyone across began to dig themselves out of their respective homes. CCO was no exception. Armed with a couple shovels, a few good men dug out our sidewalks and alleyway so families and singles could get to the CCO dining room, CTA station, and even excavated a few cars. Following hours of digging we decided it would be an excellent idea to ask our wonderful donors for $$ toward a snow blower! If you’re interested in donating to make a snow blower purchase please email Beth at bnicholls@ccolife.org. We’ll make sure your donation is specified for this purpose.

Thanks!

Neighbor Carts are Back!

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Neighbor Carts are coming back! The map above will help you find out where you can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables this summer. Neighbor Carts are part of StreetWise, an organization that works to stabilize homeless individuals through employment and social services.

If you’re out and about in the city be sure to stop by a Neighbor Cart and get some delicious produce!