Children Experiencing Homelessness

Children at CCO

The National Coalition for the Homeless states that the average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years old. This number challenges a lot of the typical stereotypes that people associate with homelessness in America. Children who are homeless have special needs. Stability through on-going education, proper nutrition, and development through play space, can help lessen the burden of homelessness.

At CCO, we welcome homeless families of all kinds, mothers with children, fathers with children, couples with children, and three-generational families. Case managers compassionately work to assist families with school transfers or transportation, assessments and referrals for children struggling in an emotional or academic area, and assistance with specific challenges that may arise. We are privileged to take part in the successes of our shelter families. Consider making a donation today and be a part of helping to stabilize and strengthen the families sheltered at CCO! Thank you!

“I am giving you $11.00…”

Sweet Donation Letter

Recently, CCO received this sweet letter from a young supporter:

Dear Cornerstone, I am giving you $11.00 so you can feed the poor people and give them drinks. You guys could buy some nice hot soup so the poor people will have nice delicious hot soup.”

Wow! We are never too young (or too old) to care for others! If you are interested in donating to CCO click the donate button on the right. Your support helps homeless families and individuals receive safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services.

Thank you!

Leland House Computer Lab!

Leland Computer Lab

“They’re here! They’re here!” was the loud proclamation of three school-age children who live at Leland House. The children at Leland House are now able to do their homework on the newly installed computers. They were so excited they could hardly contain themselves. “Wow! Two new Apple computers and a printer!”, was another students reply when he saw the new computers & printer. Leland House provides permanent, supportive housing to 20 school-age children and their parents. The children can now come home and access these computers after school. Every Tuesday we have 3 Moody Bible Institute student volunteers who come and help tutor the children. Up until this time, they had been trying to use our very old computers that were barely functioning and  sometimes didn’t work at all.

Thanks to the generosity of The Barnabas Project this miracle of new computers has now blessed our after school room. The staff, volunteers and especially the families with school-age children are very grateful to receive these generous gifts. The computer lab will benefit and enhance the Leland House program and all its residents.
Leland House is CCO’s permanent, supportive housing program. Leland House provides 18 families with safe apartments and intensive, on-site case management services. Staff have been praying, hoping, and wishing for new computers. Now the children are better equipped to achieve their education goals. Moms and dads at the Leland House program also use the computers to search for job and  housing opportunities. They can now register online, search for job training and employment opportunities, create and post resumes, and search the web for other opportunities.
Thank you Barnabas Project for your compassion and kindness you have shown to the families at Leland House!

Homelessness & Children

CCO

On average 140 children are sheltered with their parents each day at CCO. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless uses Chicago Public School information to estimate the number of homeless children in Chicago. In the 2013-2014 academic school year 22,144 school-aged children were homeless in our city. The number of homeless children has increased by 18% from the previous school year.

Many factors contribute to the increase in homelessness, such as, the demolition of tens of thousands of CHA housing units with very few replaced, a time-limit on public benefits, inadequate income from employment, lack of safe affordable childcare, and decrease in government assistance. All of these deficiencies have created a greater demand for safe shelters for families of all descriptions.

CCO is privileged to welcome and assist homeless families of all descriptions. This includes, three-generational families, couples with children, mothers with children, and fathers with children. Join us in providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services to the families sheltered at CCO. Consider donating today!

Thank you!

CCO Birthdays!

cake ccolife

Over 140 children are sheltered at CCO with their families on any given day. Birthdays should be special for every child. A few thoughtful volunteers purchase or bake a birthday cake and bring it to the shelter when it’s time to celebrate someones special day. Volunteers wrap new presents from the donations we receive. It’s great to think that kids sheltered at CCO will look back at their time of homelessness and also have these special memories.

Thank you to all our volunteers that make a difference at CCO!

Families Celebrate the Holiday at CCO!

Crystal post
On Tuesday morning, December 23, CCO staff and volunteers handed out gifts to all the families who stay with us at Cornerstone. Presents are also given to those families who were once homeless and are now housed, along with some parents and grandparents who can’t afford to buy their “little ones” anything this Christmas.
The tireless workers ensure that every child, along with every parent, receives gifts! It is truly remarkable! It involves many donors, volunteers and staff dedicating an enormous amount of love, time, effort and money for our families who are experiencing homelessness. Every year I marvel how it all comes together and how hundreds of women, men and children are blessed! I marvel at how those who often feel unloved and rejected, feel loved and accepted during this season!
Each family receives a variety of wrapped gifts that are “age-appropriate”. We were able to give away presents like basketballs, dolls, games, lego sets, art kits, books and countless other toys! The children all receive a few toys each, while the parents and teenagers are often blessed with gift cards and electronics.
This year was no different; everyone was stunned, was incredibly grateful and had a wonderful time. They kept saying “thank you”, over and over again!
Families who are experiencing homelessness, are often ignored and forgotten during the Christmas season. They are in a place they’d rather not be; they’d rather spend Christmas in their own apartment! They often do not expect anything, and are often racked with the guilt of having to live with their kids in a homeless shelter. Many are often wondering how they’ll even be able to purchase anything for their “shorties”.
Unfortunately, most families are expecting to be ignored and forgotten again. Yet, I’m happy to say, it is a very different reality here in Cornerstone…..
This season is remarkable. Not only are they blessed with all these gifts, but over several weeks, Churches and other organizations come to CCO and cook them amazing meals, take them to restaurants and volunteer much time and effort. These families certainly know they have been remembered. These families certainly know they have not been ignored and forgotten!
So, it is always a joy to be part of this and to surprise them. It is always a joy to see the unexpected delight and happiness form on their faces, knowing they have been remembered and loved!
….and isn’t this what Christmas is all about?
….isn’t this why the Christ-child came into the world, bringing a new Kingdom of Love and Hope? A Kingdom that elevates, saves and surprises those who are homeless, sick, marginalized, rejected, ignored and abandoned.
Surprising people in our dark world, with unexpected rays of love and light!
Surprising people, who think all is lost, with new gifts and new Hope!
Surprising people, who’ve been cast aside by this world, by remembering them and making sure they know they are loved and not forgotten!

Children & Homelessness

CCO Children

Using data from the US Census and Public School records, the National Center on Family Homelessness reports that nearly 2.5 million American children experienced homelessness in 2013. That is 1 in 30 children. At CCO, we are grateful to be able to offer safe shelter to children with their parents and help them work towards a stable future.

While staying at CCO our school age children attend free after-school tutoring through Chicago Hopes. Back to school events and holiday parties make our kids feel special and cared for. One of our valuable volunteers delivers a birthday party to the shelter when it’s one of the children’s birthdays. She finds out what kind of cake the child likes and makes it. She wraps new gifts from the donations we receive. It’s great to think that kids will look back at their time of homelessness and also have these special memories. And, of course, compassionately supporting and assisting parents throughout their homeless experience at CCO has a lasting impact on the lives of their children.

Join us in this important effort. Consider donating today! Thank you!

To read the full report by the National Center on Family Homelessness click here.

Making the Holiday Bright

Christmas at CCO

The Holiday Season should be a special time for everyone. At CCO we try to make the holidays bright for each person. You are an important part of that effort. There are a variety of ways you can be a blessing to our shelter guests. Donate new unwrapped toys or gift items for those staying in one of our family shelter, donate funds for a Christmas party in the single men’s or women’s shelter program, or organize your church or civic group to provide a holiday meal. We work extra hard this time of year to make everyone at CCO feel special and cared for.

Join us this holiday season in making Christmas bright for our shelter guests. If you have questions contact Eve at eve@ccolife.org. Thank you!

Got Milk?

 

Milk

Got Milk? The CCO dining room serves over 500 nutritious plates of food each day and milk is an important part of the meal. Milk is packed nutrients that help kids grow and keep adults healthy.

However, iit is a costly essential. Would your church or civic group be willing to purchase milk on a monthly basis? Your gift would provide a protein-packed drink for the children, women and men sheltered at CCO.

We rely on the donations of our supporters to continue to serve our shelter guests. Consider donating today! Thank you!

Alleviating Hunger in Chicago

 

CCO Food Pantry

Each week the CCO Food Pantry provides nutritious food items to over 150 pantry attendees. “Grammy”, pictured in blue, has been a long time pantry volunteer. She works weekly along with a small army of folks who give their time to offer food with a smile and a word of encouragement.

Would you like to volunteer to serve at CCO? Click here if you would like more information on volunteering your time and energy.

Are you interested in joining Team CCO at the Greater Chicago Food Depository Hunger Walk? The Hunger Walk is a 3.1 mile walk through Chicago’s beautiful downtown, lake front area. Each person walking for CCO will increase our food credit by 224 pounds with the Food Depot. The credit is used to purchase food for our shelter guests, food pantry patrons and dinner guests. Click here for more info about the Hunger Walk.

Thank you!