Winter Gear from Turtlefur

In August, CCO received a box of hats and neck-warmers from Turtlefur as a part of their Project Warmth. All the staff in the office was so excited not only to receive quality winter hats and neck warmers for people experiencing homelessness, but to receive them early before the cold season starts.

It’s hard to think about the cold winter months when beaches days and backyard BB-Qs are still happening. The reality is that many people don’t start thinking about providing winter gear to people experiencing homelessness until the weather has already changed. It is possible to get snow in late October in Chicago and with many coat and winter gear drives starting in November there is sometimes a gap in our available cold weather clothing and coats.

If you are considering a coat drive for CCO, think about starting it in September. As fall blows in with colder temperatures the need for coats, hats, scarves and gloves comes as well. If you would like to drop off donations of winter gear, contact out Donation Center to schedule an appointment.

Through Turtlefur’s Project Warmth, people who have purchased Turtlefur products can add the hashtag #projectwarmth to photos of themselves wearing their Turtlefur products, tag @tutrlefur, and share to the social media platform of their choice. Turtlefur will then donate a hat or neck warmer to people in need. Thank you Turtlefur for providing quality winter gear to people experiencing homelessness in our programs and thank you to all the individuals who participated in Project Warmth.

Go to Turtlefur.com to find out how you can participate in Project Warmth

No Gift Too Small

Eve Haycock, Naomi Program Director, was visiting friends and a young lady found out she worked at CCO. She was very curious asking many questions about the shelter and the people living there. This young person was moved by Eve’s description of CCO’s work with people experiencing homelessness and wanted to donate something to encourage and help the residents. She gave Eve the sketchbook she had been drawing in all year to encourage people to have hope in hard times. Then she gave all the money she saved over the summer from her allowance.

We at CCO are so grateful for this young ladies gift. It may seem small on the surface but the gift of hope goes deep into the hearts and lives of those who have little. This donation of hope may be the best gift we have received all year. Thank you.

CCO Back to School Rally 2022

Thanks to the amazing CCO staff, East Bank Club and Grace and Truth Church volunteers, donors, and partners; the children at CCO enjoyed a Back to School rally with games, activities, treats and a reptile show. Celebrations are so important at CCO and this rally is a great way to encourage and prepare kids for a new year of learning. It’s an opportunity for families to have some fun, get new school supplies and get excited for the coming school year.

On Wednesday afternoon, the kids had a pizza party with a reptile show hosted by Alison of Curious Creatures on Broadway, providing an opportunity for kids and families to experience and learn about animals in person. Local cartoonist, Tim “Spike” Davis, drew cartoons for the kids to color. Anna Ingerson did face painting, Isaac Ingerson did balloon twisting, and the staff facilitated more fun and games. 

Along with fun the kids received a backpack, school supplies, and new shoes thanks to our many donors and partners. Chicago Public School and DFSS provided basic school supplies for each child and CCO donors supplied backpacks and supplemented other supplies. We partnered with several local businesses to collect backpacks and supplies. Combined with donors purchasing items from our Amazon School Supply wish list and financial contributions through our GoFundMe page, CCO was able to outfit each child with a backpack, new shoes, and supplies for the school year. 

Thank you to East Bank Club and Grace and Truth Church for volunteering. Thank you Everybody’s Coffee, Uptown Farmers Market, Hearthstone and Terrace, Uptown Underdawg, Immanuel Anglican Church, and Emerald City Coffee for collecting backpacks and supplies. Thank you to all our donors who purchased items from our Amazon Wish List and gave financially through our GoFundMe. You are helping to ready our students for school and giving them another step towards quality education.

A Little CCO Ingenuity

CCO is excited to partner with individuals and organizations to find creative solutions to everyday problems that our staff and clients face. Recently, CCO received a large donation of restaurant, wire shelving from Starbucks through Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago. Even after the CCO kitchen and pantry were outfitted with new (to CCO) shelves, there were still many shelf parts left. The CCO staff found themselves trying figure out what to do with the extra shelf pieces and had a brilliant idea. WARDROBES!

Finding robust, spacious and hygienic storage for our client spaces is a tall order and most options are unavailable to CCO. With a few modifications, the CCO staff was able to construct wire rack wardrobes from the Starbucks shelving for our clients. The new wardrobes are being placed in the family rooms at the moment but we would like to expand their use to all CCO client living spaces.

Thank you to Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago and Starbucks for providing the materials and thank you to the CCO staff for providing the ingenuity and manpower to make this improvement to our clients lives.

Donate for Back to School

I know, I know school just got out. And we’re talking about Back to School already?! Yes we are.

During the 2021-2022 school year, CCO had an estimated 60 students enrolled in Chicago Public School. Now that they are going back to the classroom for in-person learning, our younger residents have many school needs. CPS wonderfully provides a box of school supplies for each child at CCO, however when it comes to Back to School that is just the tip of the iceberg. Kids need backpacks, lunchboxes, school uniforms or new clothes, new shoes, and miscellaneous supplies like calculators, extra markers and crayons.

So, CCO has started a GoFundMe and an Amazon Wish List for the Back to School needs of our student residents. Please consider a financial donation and/or donating school supplies to give young CCO residents a better chance of success in school. Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/CCO-back-to-school-2022

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/ch/list/36-3670992

If you are local in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, you can go to these businesses that have a CCO Back to School box and drop off items there for CCO residents.

Everybody’s Coffee 
935 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Monday-Friday 7-2 Sat-Sun- 8-3


Uptown Farmers Market
Wednesday 2-7
Broadway and Clifton 


Hearthstone and Terrace
1329 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Mon-Sat 11-6


Uptown Underdawg 
1122 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Sun 11-5 Tues-Sat 11-8


Emerald City Coffee 
1224 W Wilson Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Mon-Fri 7AM–4PM Sat 7AM–3PM Sun 8AM–3PM

Congratulations Graduates!

On June 10th, Amanda Learmond, resource manager for Cornerstone Community Outreach (CCO), had a conflict with three of her former clients. It wasn’t the usual type of resolution she is called upon to deal with on a daily basis at the shelter. No, she had three invitations to graduations from former clients of CCO. 

The three families had been shelter guests at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and all three families had been successfully housed. During their time at CCO, Amanda was each family’s case manager, working closely with them to overcome the barriers keeping them in homelessness. During that time they all formed a deep bond that continued after the families transitioned to permanent housing. Amanda worked closely with these families not just during their stay at CCO but in their new homes, visiting them and offering continued support.

“Even though I don’t have family in Chicago, with these families I feel like I have family in Chicago,” Amanda says. “I feel so honored that I was invited into these families’ lives. These parents and guardians inspire me in the way that they continuously create opportunities for their children in spite of their challenges.”

But with such a close connection with each family it was a hard decision to choose which graduation to attend. Jocelin was graduating from Kindergarten, Zion was graduating from 8th grade and Luis was graduating from high school. Each of these children had overcome great obstacles to finish their grades all while coming out of homelessness during a pandemic.

In the end Amanda was able to check in on all of them. “Even though I wasn’t able to watch each of them walk the stage, I was able to be with them to celebrate their accomplishment. My biggest dream is to watch Jocelin and Zion graduate from high school and Luis to graduate from college. I can’t wait to cheer for them then.”

Luis will attend college at National Louis University on a full scholarship to study business and then go on to complete a degree in civil engineering.

Amanda’s story is such a wonderful example of how when a family comes to CCO they become a part of the Cornerstone family and how we at Cornerstone become a part of theirs. Amanda said she is very grateful to everyone who contributed to make this experience possible, and encourages everyone to consider donating to Cornerstone to make more possibilities happen.

Click here to donate to keep these life changing experiences happening!