CCO Gratitude Tree

Each Thanksgiving Season CCO staff put up the Gratitude Tree. Shelter guests are welcome to fill a leaf with something they are grateful for. It is encouraging and humbling to see the thought that goes into such an uplifting project. You will find many of the gratitude leaves in the gallery below. What are you grateful for?

“I am thankful for everything I have. I’m thankful for my family.”

“We are thankful for… Joy, God, Family, Life, Love, Happiness, Another Day, Another Year, for Oxygen, for me, and for you! Blessings!”

“Happy Thanksgiving! I am blessed to have a loving family! I am thankful for my friends, neighbors, and church family. I pray that Christ will give you Peace, Joy, Hope, Faith, Kindness, and Understanding!”

“I’m thankful for what I have. Especially that my kids are health right now. We have hard times but we won’t give up. “

“I am thankful for Cornerstone and all the staff and clients. May God bless you all! Have a safe and happy holiday… Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. Psalms 95:2-3”

“I am thankful for my grand kids and my kids and people who can help me out when I need it.”

“Thankful… My family, my life, everything that I have, all the help I’m receiving from Sylvia Center, Cornerstone, and special thanks to our case manager, Randa, thank God for everything. Happy Thanksgiving!”
“We are very grateful to live here temporarily and to learn more about the grace and the mercy. Thank you for putting food on our table. Thank you for a free bed and many other things. I told one of your case mangers to work here demands that you love people and have a strong mind to protect yourself. Thank you to all staff!

Back to School New Shoes Fundraising Program.


Santa Program is at it again, making a difference for the children!

Back to School New Shoes Fundraising Program.

“We’re fundraising to buy new back to school shoes for as many of the children at CCO as we can this year.

All donations through the link on this page will be used by the social workers to take the neediest of children on a shopping spree to buy one pair of new shoes (and maybe a pair of new socks if we raise enough money). We all know the back to school shopping is chaotic, but please take a moment to help at least one child start the new year with a brand new pair of shoes.” *

Click to Read more and make a donation today!


A Flood of Volunteers

The water just kept pouring in as we were hit hard by a torrential summer storm a few weeks ago. Youth Works June 2015

After salvaging what donations we could we began the daunting task of sorting through mounds clothing that had been sitting in over 5 inches of water before they began to mildew. Luckily, our first YouthWorks group of the summer arrived that day eager to help in any way possible. Armed with gloves and trash bags they sorted and transported over 200 bags of clothing and completely cleared out our clothing donation room in just 4 days! It’s been years since we’ve seen bare floors in this space and we would like to thank our YouthWorks volunteers from West-side Christian Church, Cambridge Lutheran Church and Maple Plain Community Church for the flood of assistance they provided. Without their help much of the donated clothing would have been lost to water damage meaning that our Free Thrift Store racks would have been quite bare this summer. Thank you so much for your hard work and willingness to serve YouthWorks!

CeaseFire at CCO

Mural - Chicago

“Treating the contagion of violence.” – CeaseFire

Last night, CeaseFire staff member Anthony Doss came to CCO to hold a discussion with 11- 17 year-olds and their parents. Anthony listened to the teens and gave them tools to interrupt the violence that they experience on the street.

CCO staff member, Mary Davenport, organized the event and felt that the conversation was fun, honest and helpful. CCO is privileged to work with an agency that has been so effective in the non-violent movement. CeaseFire will be returning to CCO soon to meet with more residents. Thank you, Anthony and CeaseFire Chicago!

If you would like to know more about CeaseFire and their efforts to cure violence click here.

CCO Supports Fathers

Felix & Felix

“Being his dad gives me joy, strength and hope for a better day.”
– Felix, pictured here with Felix Jr.

At Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO) we are grateful for the opportunity to serve and witness the successes of many dedicated dads. Your donation allows us to continue to support the fathers who work so hard to stabilize their families.

For me, being a dad is about hearing my son say, “I love you” in the morning, and saying it again at bedtime. When I lost my wife, I could have given him to someone else, but he’s a part of me. When he tells me he loves me, I know I’m doing the right thing.

Being a dad is hard work. Anyone can be a dad, but it takes a real man to be there for your kids and take care of them. Every day, I try to give him what I felt I missed in my own life. Being his dad gives me joy, strength and hope for a better day.


This Father’s Day honor the dads at CCO by making a donation that will help bring their families one step closer to permanent housing. Thank you!

We see success in the lives of our shelter guests every day! Learn more at Our Stories!

Happy Earth Day!


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Happy Earth Day! We are looking to the future and have high hopes and plans for our shelter rooftop spaces. The renderings in the gallery are for both of our shelter buildings. Sylvia Center will be a site for an urban rooftop farm. The agricultural area will be cultivated by interested volunteers and shelter residents. … Read More

The Future

Sylvia Center Rooftop Rendering

We are looking to the future! The rendering above will give you a glimpse of the farm we hope to establish on the Sylvia Center rooftop. The space will be usable for shelter staff and residents. Fresh produce in a relaxing and therapeutic setting will be a wonderful addition to CCO.

In 2012 a small, upcycled garden began on the roof of Sylvia Center. Six stories above ground level, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra and herbs grew our of food grade 5 gallon buckets. The results were delicious!

Keep checking back at CCOlife for more updates and information.

Congratulations, John!

Inspiration Corp Success!

While living at Cornerstone Community Outreach John’s case manager referred him to the culinary course at Inspiration Corporation. John has completed the program and graduated. He is now employed and looking forward to permanent housing for himself and his family. Congratulations, John! We’re proud of you!

Are you interested in partnering with CCO to provide safe, supportive shelter for families like John’s? If so, click on the Donate Now button above. Thank you!


December 31st Is Nearly Here!

Sylvia Center Building

We are quickly approaching the December 31 tax deadline for donations. We ask that you continue your commitment to alleviating homelessness in Chicago.  We are privileged to work with a diverse range of people. From newborns to senior citizens, individuals to large families, we are dedicated to walking alongside everyone who comes to us in need.

Some of our needs are structural.This spring, tuckpointing work that we knew would eventually be needed became immediately necessary for our 106-year-old Sylvia Center building, and with this first phase of work came a $42,000 bill. The construction needs were pressing and the repairs were done quickly and effectively. A second phase of tuckpointing is expected in 2013, which will bring the total cost to approximately $100,000. These costs have greatly diminished our general funds.

CCO matters in the day-to-day lives of the homeless families and individuals we serve. The shelter gives our residents a place to rebuild their lives and recover from the difficulties of homelessness.

Join us in this critical work by making a donation today. Thank you!