Unique Gift Giving at CCO

Merry Christmas

We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!

We have a unique approach to gift giving at CCO. Instead of giving out gifts to the children ourselves. Gifts are delivered to the parents of each family wrapped and labeled. They are then able to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. This simple shift in gift giving has really encouraged parents, which is especially important while they are experiencing homelessness.

Of course, parents aren’t left out! Many of our generous donors shop for special items that will make parents feel cared for over the holidays. One faithful donor has purchased new, fluffy robes for each of the mothers in our Hannah House program for years! This gift is always a hit.

Our single men and single women’s shelter programs always have a Christmas party that includes gift items, practical necessities, festive food, and music. The women even have a holiday talent show with singing, dancing and prizes!

We want everyone to feel loved and cared for. This is especially important as they experience homelessness. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered time, purchased new gift items, or financially donated to make the Holiday’s bright at CCO!

If you haven’t donated and you’d like to click here. Thank you!

Letter from CCO’s Executive Director

Executive Director Sandra Ramsey

Dear Friends:
The staff, volunteers, and shelter guests at CCO would like to wish you a Happy Holiday! Without you we would not be able to offer safe shelter, nutritious meals, and many other necessary and practical services for the homeless families and singles that come through our doors.

At CCO work begins long before December to make a joyous holiday for all. You make it possible for those sheltered with us to feel cared for and remembered. Chrissy, one little girl, has asked for a play kitchen set. She will be overjoyed when she sees the pink kitchen with stove, refrigerator, and cupboard that have already arrived for her. Chrissy and nearly 150 children are sheltered at CCO with their families and we strive to make the season bright for each one of them, especially while they are homeless. Many of you have given goods or a financial gift that will help make the holiday special for our families. They can expect holiday treats, special meals, gifts, and outstanding events.

Mike, one our former clients who had been homeless for six years, is looking forward to the holidays in his new apartment. We often see him on the street in our neighborhood. We know he is now coming from or going to his new apartment. Denise, a former CCO resident, who was featured in our last newsletter, continues to work and is looking forward to putting up holiday decorations in her apartment after spending three Christmases homeless in her outdoor storage unit. On any given day, over 145 single men and women are sheltered at CCO. We don’t want anyone to be forgotten or overlooked at the holidays. Our single shelter guests will be enjoying a fabulous Christmas party with festive food, special treats, holiday music, and gifts.

In addition to our two family and two single shelter programs, we respond to the cold weather by having an Outreach Program that bring those on the streets inside. It is truly an emergency search and rescue operation on the coldest nights. The men who are part of our Outreach Program can look forward to all the goodies and additional blessings that Christmas at CCO brings.

All of these special events take place in the midst of our day-to-day efforts to help our families and singles reach permanent housing. All the referrals, advocacy, and individualized help that takes place between homelessness and housing are still happening each day.

We can easily think, “What can I do?” The needs around us can seem overwhelming. On a practical level, you can do what you have been doing all year. You can give $1, $10, $100, or $1,000. Your donation, no matter how small or large, will help our shelter guests experience a brighter holiday season and bring them closer to the housing that would be at the top of each of their Christmas lists.

Sincerely,

Sandra J. Ramsey CCO Executive Director

 

Families Celebrate the Holiday at CCO!

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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!

Christmas at CCO!

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Over 130 children and youth are sheltered with their parents at CCO, during the holidays and all throughout the year. Our donors, volunteers, and supporters have always been a valuable part of making the season bright for each and every child. Holiday work starts as early as September with individuals and groups contacting Eve, our Christmas coordinator, anxious to gather new toys and basic necessities for the families sheltered with us. As the gifts begin to arrive in December, Eve and her group of volunteers, wrap, organize and sort the gifts into family groups. It takes a lot of hours and input to make Christmas shine. Then the gifts are delivered to the parents of each family to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!
The giving doesn’t stop with the families. The residents of our single women and single men’s shelter are no less important. Each program celebrates with a festive party that includes decorations, a delicious holiday meal and gifts. Everyone is valued and no one is left out.
As you celebrate the holidays this year remember CCO and considering making a holiday or year-end donation. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and you will have the knowledge that you are a part of making the holidays and every day brighter for our shelter guests.

Thank you!

CCO Men Celebrated at Holiday Dinner!

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On Friday we had our annual Christmas party for the men who stay with us at Cornerstone. It was also attended by those who were once homeless and are now housed, and also by some of the homeless men who sleep outside in the neighborhood.
We had a great meal of bbq chicken, pork chops, mac’n’cheese, spaghetti, rolls, salad and cake. It was delicious and they all loved it.
Each man received a bag with a variety of gifts. We were able to give away presents like hoodies, hats, gloves, scarves, high quality dress-shirts and pants, peanuts, chocolates, flashlights, hygiene kits, gift cards and many other things.
Everyone who attended was incredibly grateful and had a wonderful time. They kept saying “thank you” over and over again!
Men who are experiencing homelessness, are often ignored and forgotten during the Christmas season. Many of these men do not expect anything. They, unfortunately, are expecting to be ignored and forgotten again.
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? A Kingdom that elevates, saves and surprises those who are sick, marginalized 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!

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!

AmazonSmile

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Cornerstone Community Outreach is a registered charity with AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a way you can financially support CCO, at no cost to you. Go to www.smile.amazon.com and be sure to choose CCO as your charity! Millions of Amazon items are eligible and 0.5% of your total cost goes to CCO, and there is no limit to how much Amazon will give.

Cornerstone’s link to share with friends is http://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-3670992 .

Happy Shopping!

Christmas Donors

New Blanket

A new blanket, stuffed animals and hat makes for a cozy nap, thanks to our generous Christmas donors! The 2013 holiday season at CCO was filled with fun events, parties and gifts for our shelter guests and neighbors in need. We want to say a special thank you to the donors that made the season bright by donating financially, creating an event, volunteering or purchasing gifts that blessed our guests. Thank you!

Holiday Giving

Christmas

CCO staff, donors and volunteers work long and hard to make the holidays special for our shelter guests. That includes families with children and single men and women. Help us make the holidays bright! Monetary donations go a long way in filling the gaps in gift and goods donated to CCO.

Please consider making a donation today. Thank you!

Christmas Needs

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Are you interested in helping provide an exceptional Christmas for our shelter families or individuals?

We are accepting donations of new hats, gloves, scarfs and toiletry sets for the teens and adults living at CCO.

The single men and single women will each be having a Christmas party with treats, gifts, music and a talent show. Are you interested in donating disposable plates, cups, forks or new gifts for the events?

For more information about giving new items to our shelter residents this holiday season please contact Eve at eve@ccolife.org.