Naomi House Renovation!

Thank you Tourism Toronto for beautifully renovating the bathroom for the single women sheltered at CCO’s Naomi House program! You’re work is an improvement and encouragement. What a transformation! Thank you!

Driving Through the Blowing Snow

Epworth Men's Run

CCO men heading to the Epworth Church where they sleep each night.

Blowing snow and frigid temperatures this week means that CCO staff embarked on many evening runs in a large maxi van. Since last Sunday, staff have been driving our men’s shelter guests from CCO to Epworth Church where they sleep every night. In the daytime, the men meet with their case workers and have meals in the main CCO buildings.

Consider donating to CCO and being a part of the good things that are happening (no matter the weather) here! Thank you!

Epworth Men's Run

The maxi van take the men to Epworth Church where they sleep each night.

Epworth Men's Run

Sandy Ramsey, CCO Executive Director, drives the men sheltered at CCO to Epworth Church.

20 Below Wind Chills – CCO’s Response

CCO Warming Center

“King” escaping deadly cold and welcomed into CCO Warming Center.

CCO’s Extreme Cold Search & Rescue

“Thank you for bringing me in. If you hadn’t, I think my hands would have gotten frostbite.”

-“King”
The cold weather is inconvenient for us all but for homeless people, especially those living outside, it can be deadly. Each winter CCO responds to the cold weather by welcoming our friends on the street into a warm, dry space. Sandy Ramsey, CCO Executive Director, and Jeremy Nicholls, CCO Outreach Worker, searches the local viaducts, loading docks, and under passes to bring in those living outside in dangerous weather. Many are rescued from the frigid conditions by these late night search and rescue operations.

CCO Outreach

CCO Outreach Working encouraging someone to come in from the cold.

CCO Outreach

CCO Outreach Worker asking someone to come into the Warming Center.

CCO Outreach

One of several people who came into the Warming Center at CCO during the deadly cold.

Evening runs are a part of CCO life. Click here to read about Driving Through the Blowing Snow.

Your 100% Tax-Deductible Donation!

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When you support CCO’s shelter guests it’s as if you are right here with us, serving hot meals, welcoming a family into the shelter, or celebrating a holiday.  Continue to join with us by making a donation that will provide hope to homeless families and individuals. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible if you donate before December 31.

Thank you!

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!

Enjoying Christmas Dinner at CCO!

Christmas Dinner - Post

CCO staff member, Chris Ramsey, shared a delicious Christmas dinner in the CCO dining room with Tom, a long-time friend and neighbor. The kitchen lovingly prepared ham, sweet potatoes, beans, and cranberry sauce. Tom has been a part of CCO’s Dinner Guest and Food Pantry program for years.

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!

Giving Tuesday

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Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Learn more about creative ways you can give on December 2nd. “It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more.”

Consider GIVING to CCO on Giving Tuesday!

#GivingTuesday

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Greeting

Happy Thanksgiving!

“We are so thankful!” This may be a surprising comment to hear from someone who is homeless and living in a shelter over the Holiday Season. The truth is, we hear it often. This statement and others like it are examples of the sincerity, resilience and determination of our shelter guests. We are grateful to see them rise up each day and try to take steps toward self-sufficiency and stable housing. We are grateful to be able to help our shelter guests in their journey and we are grateful to you, our donors, for giving us the support we need to carry on with this critical work.

Please consider donating today. Thank you!

Fighting Hunger Everyday!

CCO Kitchen

This week, many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving by enjoying a special meal with friends and family. CCO shelter guests are no exception. We are planning a yummy Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. While Thanksgiving is a special day with a special meal, everyday nutritious meals are served from the CCO kitchen. We are honored to fight hunger by preparing and serving food to hundreds of shelter guests each day.

For over 15 years CCO has enjoyed a valuable partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). The GCFD is Chicago’s food bank supplying over 650 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across the city. From July 2013 through June 2014 CCO received 502,000 pounds of food from GCFD, with an estimated value of $806,000. Fresh fruits and vegetables accounted for 25% of the total. Through our fabulous Hunger Walkers, grants and subsidies, we paid nothing for these valuable food items and have a remaining food credit of $1,506. The benefits are astonishing! We want to say a special thank you to our Hunger Walkers, GCFD, and all who have served or supported our meal programs. Thank you!