Letter from the Executive Director

Executive Director Sandra Ramsey

Dear Friends:

Another year has flown by and the staff at Cornerstone have had a front row seat to so many victories and successes! We get to witness the relief on people’s faces when they finally secure keys to their home once again, or for some, for the first time ever. We experience firsthand the joy of someone getting a job because they know that is a major step in securing their housing. Being able to secure birth certificates and IDs helps each person feel like they exist and are important in this world.

We witness the strength and tenacity of our residents time and time again and wonder how we would do if we were experiencing homelessness ourselves. We look forward to this year of 2017 with even higher hopes and greater anticipation of the many families and individuals we will meet, hearing their stories, and helping them move forward with their goals.

Our mission at CCO is to help people recover from the hardships of homelessness with dignity while helping them restore their God-given worth and self-esteem.

Sincerely,

Sandra Ramsey

22,500 Bags of Groceries

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CCO Food Pantry

22,500 Bags of Groceries

“We do it because we see the need. There are a lot of low-income and needy, elderly people in the Uptown area. There is a lot of food in America and hungry people who need it. We have a great supply of good food and we are blessed to share it.”
– Chris Ramsey, CCO Food Pantry Supervisor

Every Wednesday over 150 people gather in the CCO dining room to “shop” for nutritious food. Canned vegetables, meat, pasta, grains, nuts, boxed food, and more, a wide variety of groceries are offered each week and over 25% consist of nutritious, fresh fruits and vegetables. The majority of CCO food pantry patrons are senior citizens. The bags of groceries they take home provides the financial relief needed to pay rent, obtain important prescription medications, or other necessities, on a fixed income.

In 2016, 22,500 bags of groceries went to hungry Chicagoans through the CCO Food Pantry program. We are grateful to play a part in the fight against hunger in Uptown.


In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider making a generous donation today!

2,920 Visits to the Free Store

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Free Store

2,920 Visits to the Free Store

“A lot of people who visit the Free Store come from dire circumstances. They often don’t have enough clothes, maybe just a few things in a bag. Or they come to CCO with nothing. We’ve had lots of fire victims, people fleeing bad situations, or folks living on the streets, who only have what they could carry. They are welcome to come and get what they need.”
– Harmony Canfield, Free Store Supervisor

Donated clothes and household items are displayed in the CCO Free Store. Once there, shelter guests and our neighbors are able to choose clothing essentials. The Free Store is truly a vital service to our shelter guests who arrive at CCO with no money or income. It is a blessing to families, single adults, and our neighbors in need.


Thank you for celebrating a few of CCO’s wonderful successes from 2016! In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider making a generous donation today!

331 Birth Certificates & State ID’s

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311 Birth Certificates & State ID’s

Essential Identification

Often something as simple as identification can stand in the way of job training, education, employment, and housing. CCO case managers work hard to get essential identification so that goals can be met. As a result, families and single adults are brought one step closer to stability and “finding home.”

In 2016, 331 Birth Certificates and State ID’s were obtained by those sheltered at CCO. Many people entering CCO have no identification or income. Staff work with shelter guests to secure ID so that they can access housing lists, job training, schooling, medical assistance, and more. Without identification, it is impossible to move forward to secure housing.


Thank you for celebrating this important 2016 success with us. In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those who experience homelessness. Please consider donating today!

 

Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K charity donation

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Register and the Shamrock Shuffle will donate $5 to Cornerstone!

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K offers runners a similar race weekend experience to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Not only are the start and finish lines in Grant Park on Columbus Drive, but the course loops through the fast and flat streets of downtown Chicago mirroring the beginning of the Marathon route. The Shamrock Shuffle is an ideal event to practice your Marathon race day routine and blow out the cobwebs after a Chicago winter. Beyond its similarities to the Chicago Marathon, the Shamrock Shuffle highlights the local community spirit of Chicago’s runners. From the debut runner to the veteran, the Shuffle is the race for everyone.

The event has extended us a unique Shamrock Shuffle registration opportunity that will help support our charity team. Sign up and $5 of your entry fee will go towards our organization.  Visit shamrockshuffle.com/charityregistration and register today! During the registration process, select your charity team from the list of official charities on the registration form. Complete your registration and our charity will receive a $5 donation from your entry fee!

Don’t miss your chance to celebrate the arrival of spring and support us at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K! Sign up today and secure your spot at the start line.

200,000+ Plates of Food

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200,000+ Meals Served!

Fighting Hunger Through Nutrition

Each plate of food served in the CCO dining room help to bring nutrition, energy, and well-being to the children, adults, and senior citizens who dine with us. Nutrient-rich, balanced meals are central to CCO’s services.

To many of us, food is such a routine and expected provision that we forget it’s importance. But for those who are hungry, it is no small matter. Consistent, nutritious meals help to stabilize moods and focus attention on important tasks. It can help break people free of a survival mentality.

In 2016, over 200,000 meals are served in the CCO dining room. We are grateful to provide this core service.


Thank you for joining us in celebrating CCO’s fight against hunger. In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider making a donation today.

48 Employed!

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48 Employed!

Improving Through Employment

“Never ever give up. No matter how bad things are. I came to Chicago and I didn’t know anybody. I found shelter at Cornerstone and never gave up. If you’re homeless right now, don’t give up!”
– Katie, obtained employment and housing while sheltered at CCO

In 2016, 48 CCO shelter guests found employment! The effort and determination needed to secure a job while homeless cannot be overstated. We are proud of each and every person who obtained employment. CCO was privileged to help with training, transportation, and uniform costs for many who were in the process of job training or who found work.

Some outstanding shelter guests were given employment at CCO. Of CCO’s 50 employees, 30 have experienced homelessness and have moved from homelessness to housing through one of CCO’s shelter programs. We are proud to say 60% of CCO’s employees have ‘lived experience’ and can bring these insights, compassion, and understanding to their work. They fill critical roles such as case managers, security guards, maintenance staff, chefs, janitorial workers, programs assistants, and evening staff.


We celebrate each of our shelter guests who obtained employment in 2016. Thank you for joining us in celebration. In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider donating today.

269 Homeless to Housed!

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269 Homeless to Housed!

“Finding Home”

“Thank you Cornerstone for all your help! Not only for the help of shelter and housing but for life in general. Thank you and keep up the good work!”
– Lisa, maintained employment and found housing while sheltered at CCO.

Every single person who moves from homelessness to housing is a cause for celebration. We rejoice with every one of our residents who are able to turn a key and enter their home, whether it is a mom or dad with children, single senior citizen, couple with children, three-generational family, or young adult. “Finding home’ is the next step in a new phase of life.

Often the path to housing is full of barriers and delays but we are grateful to our case management team who help everyone sheltered at CCO navigate the complexities of finding a safe place to live.

In 2016, 269 people who stayed in one of CCO’s shelters or was helped through our outreach program moved from homelessness to housing. It was a record-breaking year!


Thank you for joining us in celebrating this exciting success from 2016. In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider donating today!

 

Celebrate with Us : 2016 Annual Report

Take a moment to celebrate the successes of 2016 with us! We were overjoyed to see 269 shelter residents move from homelessness to housing, 48 people became employed while living at CCO, and over 200,000 plates of nutritious food were served to families and single adults experiencing homelessness. Over 300 people were helped with accessing birth certificates and essential identification, the CCO Free Store saw 2,920 visits for necessary clothing and household items, and over 22,500 bags of groceries went home with our food pantry patrons.


Thank you for joining us in celebrating a few of CCO’s wonderful successes from 2016. In 2017, we hope you continue to be a part of the fabulous things happening at in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Please consider making a generous donation today!
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The End of the Year is Here!

End-of-Year CalendarAs we say goodbye to 2016, and 2017 emerges on the horizon, let’s carry the spirit of giving into every day of our lives. Consider making an end-of-year donation that would allow CCO to continue welcoming and sheltering over 350 individuals in our family and single adult shelter programs. It’s our privilege to take in homeless fathers with children, three-generational families, single senior citizens, pregnant moms, families with teens, and other families and singles who often find it difficult to get into shelters. We believe everyone has a right to safe shelter.
Take a moment and read Shirley’s story (pictured below) and learn how one outstanding child who was sheltered at CCO with her family went from homelessness to housing and a stable future!
Please consider making a financial donation today. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible.
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