Walk for CCO!

Join us for the Hunger Walk!

Join us for the Hunger Walk!

Join us for the Hunger Walk on June 29th! It will be another great year walking along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. Each person walking on behalf of CCO will count as 214 pound food credit for our shelter residents, food pantry patrons and dinner guests. Just by walking you can help alleviate hunger in Chicago. Click on the image above to join the team. Thanks!

Everybody Loves Stewart!

The Brown Family

Stewart with his mother, Denise and one of his three sisters.

“I was on the street, drug addicted, and up to no good,” Denise remembers. “And my son, Stewart, hunted for me until he found me. He got tears in his eyes. And he said, ‘Mama, you have to come home. We need you.'”

Denise shakes her head. “I told him I couldn’t come home. “I’m no good to you, Stewart. I’m no good to anyone.”

Stewart simply looked at her with tears running down his cheeks. “Mama,” he said. “We love you. We need you. All of us need you. You have to come home, Mama. You have to. We can work it out.” Something in his voice broke through the despair she felt about her life. And she went with him.

Since that day, Denise has moved away from drugs and the street, and has become a consistent, mature, and loving mother. In late February of 2003, Denise and her three children moved into the Sylvia Center, then a year later moved to our Leland House Permanent Housing Program.

Stewart has a specialness to him that only took us a few minutes to discover. He is developmentally challenged, yet has an amazing emotional maturity. He is also someone who lights up a room just by entering it.

People who haven’t met Stewart can’t stop smiling when they finally do; the phrase “Everybody love Stewart” is the only way to describe the effect he has on both staff and shelter guests.

One staffer recalls, “Stewart came over to me one June morning with something in his hands. He held out a gold and a bronze medal he had won running at the Special Olympics in Bloomington, Illinois.”

Though Stewart has an enlarged heart, preventing him from playing football, it doesn’t stop him from giving his best when he runs.

And that same energy shows up elsewhere. Stewart is bright, friendly, and outgoing. He wants first of all to know, “How are you feeling?” When he is not asking that, he’s got a sharp eye out for anyone lifting any heavy object. His first question as soon as he spots them, “Can I help?”

Stewart now has a part-time job. But in his off hours his favorite thing is to hangout with Chris Ramsey, Site Manager of CCO.

Chris and Stewart both love baseball, and when the Cubs began giving CCO the leftover vendor meals from Wrigley Field, it became their mutual mission to leap into the old ’94 Dodge Ram van and “go get those Cubbie dogs!” As they pull up to the shelter Stewart hangs out the window, “Hey, man, you want some hotdogs?” Stewart calls from the van. “These are from the Cubs game!”

Stewart’s mother, Denise, sums him up best. “I have medicine I take everyday. And sometimes I forget. But Stewart is always there, asking me how I’m doing, asking me if I remember today to take it.” He seems, she ponders, to think always of her needs.

Maybe that why we all love Stewart… because he’s so good at loving others.

– written by Chris and Sandy Ramsey, December 2004

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and everyday at CCO we are honored to shelter and serve a small army of homeless veterans. We’ve rejoiced with the men and women who have worked tirelessly to secure housing. And our hope is that one day all the men and women who gave so much would be able to have a home to call their own. To read more about being a homeless vet in America click on the image below…

This image is from the Department of Veteran Affairs.

This image is from the Department of Veteran Affairs.



This gallery contains 10 photos.

A good time was had by all at the 2013 Team CCO BBQ! Team members came together to feast on delicious food, chat, learn more about CCO and get some fundraising tips. Andrew Winter, Team CCO captain, familiarized team members with CCO success stories, social media sites and tips for supporting CCO. … Read More

Looking Back


This gallery contains 9 photos.

We’re looking back at Team CCO 2012. Click the image to view our photo gallery from last years marathon and consider supporting Team CCO 2013. This year we have an even bigger group of dedicated volunteers willing to run 26.2 miles to help alleviate homelessness in Chicago.

Learn more at Crowdrise. Thanks!… Read More

Mental Health Awareness

MelindaMay is Mental Health Awareness month and we are proud to partner and collaborate with so many great agencies in Chicago. Our shelter guests benefit from the care and of non-profits like, Thesholds, Beacon Therapeutic, Heartland Health Outreach, C4 and many others. Thank you!

National Armed Forces Day

Homeless-Veteran-Sign1Today is National Armed Forces Day. All the staff, residents and volunteers at CCO would like to remember our homeless shelter guests who have served our country in the armed forces. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimate that 62,619 veterans are homeless on any given night. Let’s serve our brave men and women especially in their time of need.

I Decided To Stay

“When I got to the courthouse my lawyer informed me that the sheriff was coming and I was going to be arrested. They wanted to know if I was going to stay or run.

I decided to stay.”

LydellThe number of homeless fathers with children is increasing. It is our privilege to welcome dads with kids into CCO and help them achieve the success for themselves and their families. Take a few moments and read Lydell’s story here. Or take a look at the other success stories available in Our Story section on the right.

The changed lives you will read about would not be possible without your support. Thank you for donating today!

Help Alleviate Hunger in Chicago!


Hunger Walk Facts

– The Hunger Walk is a 5k (3.1 mile) walk along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront.

– The event will take place rain or shine on June 29th. Registration begins at 7am and the walk begins at 8:30am at Soldier Field in Chicago.

– Each person walking on behalf of CCO supplements our … Read More