New Costumes Needed!

Costumes! Calling all costumes! Our 2016 Fall Frenzy is fast approaching and we need your new or gently-used costumes. The Fall Frenzy gives CCO children an opportunity to dress-up, play, enjoy treats, crafts, and a fun dance party in the safety of the CCO dining room.

Nearly 150 children are sheltered at CCO with their families. Help them have an outstanding fall costume party by picking up an extra costume or two when you’re at the store or donating last year’s costume!

If you would like to help in this way please email Corey at or Beth at

Are you Experiencing Homelessness?

Park BenchAre you experiencing homelessness? If you are in the City of Chicago, call 311 and let the operator know that you are homeless and in need of shelter. Let them know if you have children in your care and/or a spouse. If you are not able to make a 311 call, go to the nearest hospital emergency room, police station, or fire department. Once you are at one of these locations inform staff that you or your family need shelter. They will arrange for Department of Family and Support Services driver to take you to a shelter with available space.

You may feel alone but know that many people have been in your situation and made it through to safe shelter and housing. Getting help is the first step.

Hope and the Half Marathon

Half Marathon 2016Chris Spicer, Team CCO and CCO Board Member, recently completed the Chicago Half Marathon. He was worked to spread homeless awareness and funds for those sheltered at CCO. Here is an excerpt from Chris’ fundraising letter:

If you are homeless you face hard questions every day. Questions most of the people receiving this letter may have never had to ask themselves in their lives. Questions like, “Where will I sleep tonight?” or “How will I get my kids to school this week?” or “How do I get my family out of this situation?”
These are just a few hard and painful questions that you face daily when you are homeless. As I said earlier, questions most of us may never have to ask ourselves.

When we think of a homeless person many of us think of the guy asking for change on the corner or maybe on the train. These are the most visibly homeless people but they are not the majority. Most of the homeless population, you probably don’t even realize are homeless when you see them. They look just like you, me and our children.

I have recently had the pleasure of being added to the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Community Outreach. In the first meeting I attended I learned that the average age of a homeless Chicagoan is 9 years old. That’s right, the majority of homeless persons in Chicago are children.

I have also been able to help out on The Birthday Party Project that comes to CCO once a month and throws a party for every child sheltered at CCO that had a birthday that month. The kids smile and laugh and enjoy the cake and ice cream as much as my kids did at their birthday parties. They take the gift that is given to them and the expressions of joy brings tears to my eyes every time I help.

Today I got home from the running the Chicago Half Marathon in time to hear the sermon at my church. It was an incredible sermon on hope.

That is what the smiles on the faces of the kids at the birthday party were, Hope! Hope for a better future.That is what Cornerstone Community Outreach brings to every person it serves, Hope for a better future.
You can bring hope to the homeless of Chicago by donating to CCO through my Crowdrise Half Marathon page or my son’s Chicago Marathon page.

Expedia Cares!

Expedia Cares 2016Expedia Cares about teens experiencing homelessness. On Thursday, September 26th an outstanding group of Expedia employees came to CCO for a volunteer day. They worked tirelessly through the 88 degree heat and transformed an unused area into an arts and crafts space for teens at the Sylvia Center. The group worked extremely hard carrying and lifting huge items out of storage and arranging them in the new space. They completed their project with a fresh coat of paint. As a bonus, the teens sheltered at CCO were able to choose the paint color!

Families and individuals sheltered at CCO have greatly benefited from the Expedia volunteer days. We want to say a special thanks to Amelia Gresko and Dipak Patel, both are Sr. Market Managers with Expedia and they have been key contact people for volunteer days, donations, and support.
Thank you Expedia!

To view a photo album of Expedia’s 2015 volunteer work click here.

#expediacares #lifeatexpedia

Expedia Cares 2016

Hang Up & Help Out!

The Street StoreSearch your closet, dig through the basement, and join us at the Street Store this Saturday! The Street Store collaborates with local non-profits across the world to create a free outdoor clothing market. Donors can come and hang up their gently-used goods and our neighbors in need can choose from available items.

Bring your gently-used clothing and shoes to Weiss Hospital parking lot on Saturday, October 1 from 9-2:30pm. Click here to go the Street Store website and learn how this non-profit organization has helped impoverished people all over the world. All items remaining after The Street Store closes will go to the Cornerstone Freestore.

Hope to see you there!



Hunger Awareness Month

Hunger Slider - Copy“For now I ask no more than the justice of eating.”
— Pablo Neruda, Chilean Poet, Nobel Prize Winner

Join CCO in the fight against hunger in Chicago, where 1 in 6 people experience hunger and food insecurity. What is food insecurity? It’s when a person does not know whether they will be able to eat their next meal or meals because of lack of money.

At CCO, we are committed to offering nutritious meals to the hundreds of families and individuals who are sheltered with us. Food is a critical element in stabilizing a person’s health so that they are able to attend school, begin to recover from trauma, complete job training, access housing, and care for themselves and their family. In addition to our shelter guests, the CCO Food Pantry offers groceries to over 150 households each week.

Please consider making a donation to CCO today that will benefit those we serve and help them along the road to wellness. Click here to visit our donation page.

Can’t donate at this time? You can get involved by volunteering your time at CCO. We truly couldn’t fight poverty in Chicago without an army of valuable volunteers working alongside us. Serving meals, taking out the trash, cleaning, planting flowers, doing dishes, many hands make light work. Click here to visit our volunteer page.

Would you like to donate goods? Our CCO Free Store offers clothing and household items free of charge to everyone sheltered with us and many of our neighbors in need. The majority of the families and individuals who come to CCO for the first time have no income. Free clothing and shoes are necessary essentials. Gently-used items can be dropped off at 4628 N. Clifton Avenue in Chicago.

Are you an amateur athlete? CCO’s charitable fitness group, Team CCO, offers a fundraising avenue for those would like to run, walk, or climb their way to a better world. Click here to see what charitable fitness options are available to you.

Do you have a creative idea that will help people experiencing homelessness? Feel free to contact us at to make an inquiry.

Homelessness to Olympic Gold

English GardnerCongratulations to English Gardner, who won a gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the women’s 4 x 100 meter relay. Gardner and her family experienced homelessness during her childhood. She has overcome injury, illness, and homelessness, and strives to become the fastest woman on earth. You are an inspiration to the children at CCO and other shelters across America. We’re proud of you English!

Team CCO Triathlon Photo Album

Congratulations to the members of Team CCO who competed in this years Chicago Triathlon! The triathlon was a new charitable fitness option in 2016 and it was a great success! The team raised over $1,700 through swimming, cycling, and running for the families and individuals sheltered at CCO.

It’s not too late to donate! Visit the Team CCO CrowdRise page to support the team that supports for CCO.

Eve shared about her motivation to get through the grueling  biking section of the Chicago Triathlon:

 “I never realized how many hills are on Lake Shore Drive but riding up them, after swimming a half mile, I sure noticed! At first I was cursing those hills with my legs on fire, but then I realized homeless people sleep under these bridges. This is an overpass, this is why I am doing this because people sleep under overpasses when what they really need is shelter and a home. So those hills became an opportunity to pray, for each man, woman and child that has to sleep under there, in a shelter family room, or in a bunk bed in an open dorm. The cycling piece of this triathlon was a little slow but it was filled with joy, peace, and the presence of God. I am happy I took the time to be present to the pain. It was a good reminder of why I chose to do this race.”

The members of Team CCO are everyday people like you and I who wish to use fitness and athletic competitions to feed, clothe, and provide safe shelter to those in need. Are you interested in joining the Team? Click here to learn more.


CCO Back-to-School Bash 2016!


This year’s back-to-school bash encouraged and motivated the children sheltered at CCO with their families. We have a lot of outstanding groups and individuals to thank for such a great event. Thank you to Northeastern Illinois Alumni Association for providing backpacks to all the children at CCO. The kids were smiling from ear to ear as they walked out of the party with their newly-chosen backpack. Thank you!

Thanks to Kuumba Lynx, who once again, infused life and energy into the party. Though music and dance the youth of Kuumba Lynx entertained and uplifted everyone at the event.

Thanks to Scott from Twisticity who created balloon hats, animals, and flowers. The kids loved each creation!

Thank you to Papa John’s Pizza, who provided a deep discount on yummy pizza that the families enjoyed at the back-to-school bash!

Thanks to CircEsteem, who performed fun and amazing feats of circus fun at the party!

Thank you Shirley Richards for sharing from the heart. You motivated the children and the families alike with your personal story and words of encouragement. Thank you!

Thanks to the hard-working volunteer group from Church of the Living God in Traverse City, Michigan. We couldn’t have done it without you helping at each of the stations, applying face paint, handing out prizes, serving pizza, cake, and drinks, and helping with clean up. Thanks!

We want to say a HUGE thank you to River Street Bible Study, Phyllis Weir with the Santa Program, and an anonymous family, who fund raised for each of the children at CCO to choose a new pair of shoes. They will be stepping into the new school year with much-needed shoes. Thanks to all who helped in this way!

Last, but not least, Eve Haycock made the whole event possible. Thanks for your hard work, Eve!

Help Make CCO’s Back-to-School Bash Great!

Back To School

Are you interested in donating to really great cause? This Thursday we will be hosting CCO’s Back-to-School Bash! Consider making a donation today that will help cover the cost of backpacks, shoes, party and school supplies.

Over 150 children are sheltered at CCO with their families. Education is a stabilizing force for families experiencing homelessness. At CCO, we work with parents to make the transition to school as smooth as possible.Our yearly back-to-school event gives all our school age kids a chance to choose a backpack and supplies, participate in games, enjoy treats and listen to motivational speakers.