Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

MLK

“We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain, and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not fearing any man.”

– Memphis, April 3, 1968, the day before King’s death

Christmas for CCO Single Shelter Guests

Mens Christmas Featured Over 350 consider CCO home while they are working to establish permanent housing. It’s important that Christmas is a joy for every family and single person sheltered with us. The giving doesn’t stop with the parents and children. 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 consider 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. If you would like to donate new items for our Holiday party for single shelter guests please contact Eve at eve@ccolife.org. Or consider making a financial donation that will be spent to fill the greatest need. Thank you!

Gifts Galore!

Gifts at CCO!

The families and singles living at CCO have been the recipients of a phenomenal Holiday Season. Toys, coats, gloves, festive food, and parties have been made possible because of our outstanding donors. Christmas is the time of year when exceptional giving is the norm and we are grateful. If you weren’t able to join in the giving this past holiday at CCO, please consider making an end-of-year donation. Your financial gift is 100% tax-deductible. Join us in helping to provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and compassionate assistance that lead to training, employment, and housing. 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

 

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!

IMG_1485 - Copy10420042_10152572886231406_4358137496159232107_n

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!

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!

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!