CCO’s Annual Back-to-School Bash was a huge success! Families sheltered at CCO enjoyed dancing, music, pizza, cake, prizes, face-painting, and more. All school-aged children chose a new backpack, from a wide-range of styles, provided by the Northeastern Illinois University Alumni Association (NEIU). NEIU has provided and distributed backpacks and school supplies at the Back-to-School Bash for years. Thank you, NEIU!
Student volunteers from Uptown Christian School (UCS) set-up the room, served food, decorated, cleaned, and reassembled the dining room. The teens were willing, fun, and amazingly helpful. Thank you, UCS!
Education is a critical stabilizing force in the lives of homeless children. We are privileged to partner with our area school teachers and administrators to ensure that the children sheltered at CCO have the best education possible.
Fight2Feed Serves Up a Delicious Mother’s Day Dinner!
Fight2Feed has really gone above and beyond again! Thank you to all the Fight2Feed volunteers who purchased, prepped, chopped, simmered, and baked a delicious dinner for #MothersDay at CCO. Our shelter families and single adults were blessed with delicious lemon chicken, BBQ chicken, sloppy joes, fresh carrots, green beans and much more. Dessert was also served and the children got special treats.
Through food rescue, reduced cost food purchases, and a group of organized and energized volunteers, Fight2Feed fights hunger in Chicago and beyond. We are proud to say that this vibrant organization has partnered with CCO and provides healthy, delicious meals to our shelter guests and our homeless friends on the street.
The volunteers at Fight2Feed are working to go nationwide with their mission which is, “fighting hunger with rescued food and mobilizing it to friends in need.”
“Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.”
What a festive Holiday Season! It was a joy to watch the children and parents sheltered at CCO receiving and unwrapping Christmas gifts. CCO wants to say a huge “Thank you” to our generous and thoughtful donors, who made the 2016 Holiday Season extra special. Our shelter guests gushed with gratitude. Parents enjoyed watching their children tear open gifts and felt comforted in the knowledge that they would not have to go ‘without’ this year. Each present showed that this Christmas, they were remembered. They were valued. And they were not alone. Chicago Bear, Jimmy Staten, volunteered to play Santa this year. Thank you, Jimmy! You made every single family and child feel truly special. You brought an exciting boost to our holiday gift giving. Thank you for your time, patience, and sweet attitude!
And thank you to our very own Santa, Stewart Brown. Check back for a CCO special video featuring Stewart coming soon to CCOlife.
Thank you to all the Christmas elves who worked day and night gathering donated toys, sorting, wrapping, and organizing so that everyone felt special. Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, and CCO Board Members who helped make everything come together for the families and nearly 150 children sheltered at CCO.
Special thanks and photo credit goes to Juan Carlos Garzon. Thank you for the fabulous pictures we can all enjoy, including the families, who received copies as keepsakes of their Christmas at CCO.
Your thoughtfulness and encouragement last long after the wrapping paper is swept up and the toys are well used. It is truly a blessing to give and we are grateful to all who did!
CCO staff, volunteers, and residents would like to say a huge Thank You to each one of our generous Christmas donors! The 2016 holiday season at CCO was filled with fun events, festive food, parties, and gifts for our shelter guests. 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. The children, parents, and single adults, sheltered at CCO felt encouraged and remembered this year.
As you celebrate the holidays this year please remember CCO shelter guests and consider making a 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.
“As a student at Moody Bible Institute, I thought my mandatory volunteer work at the Leland House tutoring children would be a difficult burden. I was quickly proven wrong, firstly, because I immediately fell in love with the children, and secondly, because I met my wife there.
Tutoring the children became an immense joy for me. I had never worked with children in this manner before so I was a little lost at first. Fortunately, one year I was assigned a partner: my wife-to-be. The first week she came in I was mesmerized by the way she handled the kids with love and strictness all at once. I watched her as she made funny faces and played along with the children’s ridiculous games while maintaining order in a learning atmosphere. Needless to say, I fell in love with her as we worked side by side at the Leland house and together we fell in love with the kids.
Unfortunately, after our service time at Leland House was complete my wife was hit by a car right outside of our school. Her pelvis was shattered and she was in the hospital for some time. During this time she received countless cards and flowers from friends and family but none compared to one large envelope. The big yellow envelope held dozens of crayon-scrawled, hand-written letters and pictures from all our children at the Leland House. It was in that moment that we knew we had created lifelong friends and lasting memories with the children and families through our blessed time at the Leland House. My wife and I are now happily married with an 8-month-old baby girl living in Texas and the Leland House children and experience is forever a part of our life story.
Leland House has been a subsidized housing program for families in need for over 20 years. This year ownership of Leland House was transferred to an organization that is committed to continuing affordable housing for the families housed there. CCO made this decision so that employees and resources could be focused on our homeless shelter programs, which provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and supportive services, to nearly 350 individuals and families each day. To make a financial donation to CCO click the Donate button at the top of the page. We want to say special thanks to Pegge, Carol, all the other staff, who faithfully served at Leland House. We also want to thank Barnabus Project and many other valuable organizations who worked alongside out families to make Leland House an outstanding place to live. Thank you!
Expedia Cares about teens experiencing homelessness. On Thursday, September 26th an outstanding group of Expedia employees came to CCO for a volunteer day. They worked tirelessly through the 88 degree heat and transformed an unused area into an arts and crafts space for teens at the Sylvia Center. The group worked extremely hard carrying and lifting huge items out of storage and arranging them in the new space. They completed their project with a fresh coat of paint. As a bonus, the teens sheltered at CCO were able to choose the paint color!
Families and individuals sheltered at CCO have greatly benefited from the Expedia volunteer days. We want to say a special thanks to Amelia Gresko and Dipak Patel, both are Sr. Market Managers with Expedia and they have been key contact people for volunteer days, donations, and support.
Thank you Expedia!
To view a photo album of Expedia’s 2015 volunteer work click here.
Thank you to everyone who walked for CCO at this years Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) Hunger Walk. Those who joined us for the Hunger Walk helped to create over 10,000 pounds of food from the GCFD for CCO shelter guests and food pantry patrons.
Each day over 350 men, women, and children are sheltered at CCO. The CCO dining room offers nutritious meals to all our shelter guests. Each week over 150 households visit the CCO Food Pantry to choose from healthy grocery items.
If you weren’t able to join us for the Hunger Walk you can still make a donation that will make a difference for those we shelter. Safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services, are a critical part of the services CCO offers to the families and individuals sheltered with us. Consider donating today!
Thank you Devin! Devin Escue has been working on a special Eagle Scout Project. Through tireless fundraising Devin has been able to purchase new toys for the CCO Rooftop Playground. The Playground Party was a huge success and the kids were able to try out new hula hoops, balls, bikes, and even a basketball hoop. Devin provided delicious treats and the moms and children had a great time. Thanks again Devin!
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!
One outstanding CCO donor has been sewing soft, cute blankets for the infants and toddlers in our family shelter programs. Parents have been encouraged by such a practical yet encouraging gift and the babies love them! It’s another example of people doing what they love and doing good!
Each blanket has a colorful note card attached to it saying,”Dear Mother, This is a Prayer Blanket because while I was sewing it I prayed for you, your baby and family in that God would bless you everyday.”
Nearly 150 children under the age of 18 are sheltered with their families at CCO. Help us continue to provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and compassionate case management services, to everyone who comes through our doors. Consider donating new or gently-used items or making a monetary donation today. Thank you!