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.

Willow Creek Christmas Celebration!

Willow Creek

Nearly 100 Willow Creek Church volunteers created a fun and festive Christmas celebration for the families at CCO. Some of the moms sheltered with us got manicures and gifts were brought and given to over 130 children. The group brought supplies for each of the children to put together sweet, little gingerbread houses complete with candy decorations and icing. Other activities included, cooking decorating and painting.

Another group of volunteers worked in the Free Store organizing donated items for our shelter guests and neighbors in need. The Free Store offers gently-used clothing and household items that come to CCO through out donors. Hundreds of people get their needs met through the CCO Free Store each year!

Thank you Willow Creek Church!

The 2015 Fall Frenzy!

A good time was had by all at the 2015 CCO Fall Frenzy! Each children sheltered at CCO chose from a selection of new or gently-used donated costumes. The Fall Frenzy featured treats, games, art projects, face painting, and more. Our dedicated volunteers worked to make the event fun and special. Take a minute to look at the princesses, pirates, tigers, and other awesome characters in our photo album below. Enjoy!

We want to say a special thank you to Francis W. Parker School and the Lincoln Park Zoo who provided new costumes and sweet treats for the children sheltered at CCO! The Carolyn Taylor, Cambaris family, and many other donors contributed candy and costumes, as well. Northwestern University Public Interest Program worked hard to set up, clean up and provide a lot of party fun for the children. Without the assistance of each of our donors and volunteers the special parties for our shelter guests would not be possible. Thank you!

Do you wish you had been able to contribute to the Fall Frenzy? We hold events for our shelter guests all the time! If you are interested in donating items that can be used for our Veterans Recognition Dinner or Christmas gift give-away contact us at info@ccolife.org. Do you want to volunteer? If so, click here. Thank you!

*Thanks to Devin Escue and Colleen Davick for taking all of the Fall Frenzy pictures  featured below.

 

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!

The Next Step For A Homeless Family

One of our families in the Sylvia shelter program has gotten placement into Helping Hands, a Chicago-based transitional housing program. The couple with 5 children (from toddler to teen) will be moving into their own apartment after being at CCO for only 3 days. To be placed into housing this quickly is truly a rare and exciting event.
Mary, the families case manager helped them fill out a Helping Hands application upon their arrival on Wednesday and faxed it to the agency. The family had a successful interview on Thursday and they are moving today!
Normally, it takes a great deal time and work to escape homelessness. The systems and difficulties that people have to overcome to get housing can seem insurmountable.
We celebrate with each of our families and individuals when they become housed whether it takes 3 days or 3 months or longer.