Run for Shelter!

Team CCO went the extra mile to help alleviate homelessness at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! It’s not too late to donate. All the funds raised by Team CCO goes directly to support homeless families and adults at CCO!
We are impressed and grateful to every one of the Team CCO marathon runners who trained, fundraised and raised homeless awareness for Cornerstone families and single adults! We also want to thank everyone who joined us in the Charity Block cheer tent! Of course, we can’t forget all those who donated to CCO through our fabulous runners! This year, over $12,000 was raised to help alleviate homelessness in Chicago. If you’d like to make a donation today, visit our Team CCO Marathon page here.
These dollars represent practical help that will go toward nutritious meals, safe shelter, supportive services, and other essential needs for those sheltered at CCO.

Chicago’s Best Baker Contest!

On Saturday, October 20th amateur bakers from all over Chicago competed at the first-ever Chicago’s Best Baker Contest. All proceeds from this fun event went to the families and single adults sheltered at Cornerstone. Over $2,500 was raised and a lot of delicious desserts were tasted. Those who purchased tastings and raffle tickets made this generous contribution possible. Thank you!

Congratulations to every who baked! Thank you to everyone who attended.
The list of winners in the categories of pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, bread, international, and showstopper appear below the photo gallery.

Here is the list of the winners in each category:

Chicago’s Best Bread Baker is Benjamin Holland!
Second Place Winner-  LeAnne Bennion
Third Place Winner –  Sara Witt

Chicago’s Best Cake Baker is Madeline Rocker!
Second Place Winner – Carolyn Berard
Third Place Winner – Meredith Chiarelli

Chicago’s Best Cookie Baker is Lori Szudarek!
Second Place Winner – Meredith Chiarelli
Third Place Winner – Sarah Hilz

Chicago’s Best International Baker is Luke Lusk!
Second Place Winner – Sabrina Markvaldas
Third Place Winner – Carolyn Berard

Chicago’s Best Pastry Baker is Audrey O’Shannah!
Second Place Winner – Luke Lusk
Third Place Winner – Emma Rosenthal

Chicago’s Best Pie Baker is Maria Del Favaro!
Second Place Winner –  Luke Lusk
Third Place Winner –  Judine O’Shea

Chicago’s Best Show Stopper Baker is Meredith Chiarelli!
Second Place Winner – Deanna Stegal
Third Place Winner – Sarah Hilz

Congratulations, everyone!

 

Strength From Each Other

Strength From Each Other

The large brick building reads “7030” and we know we have arrived at Rochelle and Dionte’s new apartment. A nearby grassy lot dotted with bright yellow dandelions makes the corner feel open and friendly. Trees, lush with leaves, stand tall along the street and black iron fences surround each sturdy brick home and apartment building. Brittany and Amanda, the family’s CCO case managers, are especially excited to visit everyone and see their new home.

With an enthusiastic smile Dionte meets us outside and leads us up the stairs to his family’s second-floor apartment. Rochelle meets us at the door with baby Leia in her arms. Two-year-old Dionte Junior toddles over, curious to find out who has come to visit.

Rochelle and Dionte’s apartment is bright, spacious and clean. We immediately feel the warmth of a real home and the energy and liveliness that small children bring to a space. After hugs and a quick tour, we settle down in the living room to talk.

Rochelle, an attentive and affectionate mother, cradles baby Leia in her arms and talks about her work and her dreams. As she speaks she patiently puts the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth and gently plays with Leia’s tiny curls. “I appreciate Cornerstone but we needed our own place. Being homeless was filled with ups and downs. Sometimes we felt ready to give up but then we looked at our kids and knew we couldn’t give up.”

Rochelle has just completed training to be a full-time driver for a company that transports people with physical challenges. The work helps others and also gives Rochelle the opportunity to work full-time and over-time. “It will keep us housed and on our feet.”

Her true employment ambition is to study to become an ultrasound technician. “That is the next step,” she says with a smile. She recalls each of her children’s ultrasounds with pleasure and wants to be a part of bringing that joy and excitement to other expectant families. “Sharing those moments with other families would bring me joy and I would have a skilled, well-paying job that I love.”

With a friendly and tenacious personality, Dionte is pursuing a brighter future with his family’s security at the heart of his plans. Dionte, a self-described family man, has committed to his role because as a child, he lost his own father to gun violence. “My dad died when he was nineteen. He didn’t get to see me grown up. I want to see my kids grow up.”

Dionte explains how he has had the employment door slammed in his face repeatedly due to a felony in his past. “But I kept trying. I got a job at Target because I was honest about my past offense and they hired me because they could see I was a hardworking person who didn’t lie. I work the night shift and Rochelle works the day shift; that way one of us is always with the kids.” Dionte is on a waiting list for a construction work apprenticeship and he is enrolled in acting classes at Chicago’s famous Second City Acting Program. Energized and unwilling to pin all of his hopes on one occupation, he is remaining flexible and open to new opportunities.

When asked what motivated them to make it through homelessness they both speak about their children, each other, and their family as a whole. “Homelessness can be a really depressing time but we got our strength from each other. We knew we couldn’t give up,” Rochelle explains.

It was a joy to visit one of CCO’s successful, ambitious young families. They have made it through homelessness with an even deeper commitment to creating a stable future for themselves and their family.

Rochelle had this to say about her experience with homelessness, “As dark as that tunnel may seem there is always going to be light at the end.” Dionte adds, “I want to always do better for my kids. I want to provide for them and make sure they have what they need. This is not the end. I feel we have a long way to go and I think we’re going to get there.”

They certainly will. Together.

(Names have been changed)

– By Beth Nicholls

Thank you, Hunger Walkers!

 

33rd Annual Hunger Walk!

Nearly 50 volunteers walked 3.1 miles at this year’s Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) Hunger Walk. CCO staff, volunteers, and supporters came together to fight hunger in Chicago. Their efforts produced 11,000 pounds of food for families and individuals sheltered at CCO.

Each step increased CCO’s food allowance with the GCFD, which in turn, will go toward nutritious meals for our shelter guests, food pantry patrons, and dinner guests. Thank you to everyone who joined us at this fun event!

By June, 2018!

This year so-far at CCO

  • 307 people have come to CCO for shelter
  • 27 families, and 28 single adults have been moved into permanent housing.
  • Over 35,000 meals have been served

And we’re only half way there!

Families Experiencing Homelessness

It is our privilege to welcome families of all descriptions who are experiencing homelessness. CCO operates two shelters for families, Sylvia Family Shelter and Hannah House Shelter, both welcome families who are homeless and provide them with individualized wrap-around services. These services are a personalized approach to assisting our shelter guests in moving from homelessness to permanent housing. It includes housing referrals, subsidized databases, job training, employment referrals, educational enrollment, counseling, medical referrals, information regarding life skills, after-school tutoring, individualized advocacy, nutritious meals, safe shelter, and more. These services look different for each individual and family we shelter because each person’s experiences, strengths, and needs are different.

Consider making a donation today that will assist the families sheltered at CCO to move from homelessness to housing!

Learn more about wrap-around services here.

 

Wrap-Around Services

Each person who comes through the doors of CCO has a unique history. The homeless father with children, parents with teens, pregnant women, people of all orientations, the elderly and aging, the physically challenged, are accepted at CCO. Case managers work alongside single adults and families to create individualized goals and assist with job training and referrals, education, transportation, benefits assistance, mental and physical health referrals and more. These wrap-around services are the stepping-stones to permanent housing and a stable future.

Thank you for 2017!

You Made 2017 Awesome, Keep It Up!

As we are rounding out the holiday season, and in the last few hours of 2017, we want to say thank you for every way you have helped those sheltered at Cornerstone.

You may have come to Cornerstone and volunteered your time. Maybe you donated your new or used clothing or home goods. Possibly you chose to donate money out of your hard-earned income to help those who right now have none. However it was that you contributed, it is very appreciated. Your gift ensured that homeless families, homeless women and homeless men, were welcomed and received assistance at Cornerstone when in need.

Throughout the year, we post success stories on our social media and website, send out newsletters, emails, and thank-you letters. All of this to let you know of the good work being done through your support, and the impact it has for so many people. We hope you’ve found the photos and stories encouraging and motivating!

We ask now, that if you have not already made a year-end contribution, or if you can contribute more than you’ve been able to in the past, that you do so. If you have questions before you make that contribution, do contact us. Or if you are ready, click the donate button below!

Again, thank you for all you have already done in 2017!

The Bears brought the Holiday Party!

The holidays give a chance to celebrate each person who came through the doors of Cornerstone over the year and previous years. Today, Chicago Bears player Sam Acho and his teammates, with matching donations from The Chicago Bears, sponsored the parties for both the men and women at Cornerstone.

It was a great party, with food from Jewel Foods, Papa Johns and Aldi, and each person gets gifts of new items to help them out, from socks to hats, and everything in between. Thank you so much for your awesome support.

To know more about the programs for homeless, and low-income men and women click here: http://www.ccolife.org/our-programs/our-shelters-for-individuals/.

Consider making a donation to support the shelter for women and men today!