Eat Cake for Charity!

Genesis Winter has taken amateur baking in Chicago to a whole new level. She is the founder and organizer of Chicago’s Best Baker Contest on July 22 at 2 pm at the Wilson Abbey. Click here to purchase “tastings” in advance. All proceeds support CCO!

Genesis, thank you for creating a delicious, fun, and philanthropic event. And thank you for agreeing to this interview. 

Can you give us a quick overview of the Chicago’s Best Baker Contest? 

Chicago’s Best Baker is the only amateur baking competition in Chicago. On event day, bakers come to the Wilson Abbey in the early morning to drop off their bakes. Then the judges taste each bake before the event officially begins. They choose Chicago’s Best Baker and then the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each of the seven categories: bread, pastry, cake, cookie, pie, international, and gluten-free. Then, we open the doors for the public to admire the magnificent display of baked goods. 

It’s exciting to see compelling flavor combinations or outrageous ingredients that taste great together. After that, the winners are recognized and celebrated at the Award Ceremony. Finally, we have the tastings, which is the thrilling part! Those of us who love baking shows don’t have to watch others eat and imagine the “light sponge” or the “citrus punch of flavor.” We can indulge in the winning bakes! And it’s guilt-free because it’s all for a good cause.

Tell us about the origins of the event. Where did this idea come from?

I love the Great British Baking Show, although my true inspiration came from state or county fairs. I wanted to offer a place where locals could compete with other locals and share food. It’s for amateurs. For many competitors, this is the first time they are publicly declaring themselves a “baker.” Even though they are bakers,  they will get recognition if they win! It attracts people who love to bake at home. So far this year, we have 180 items in the competition from 70 bakers. All the proceeds for the event go to Cornerstone Community Outreach. 

Chicago’s Best Baker Contest is a fun fundraising event. It’s not a fundraising event where you spend $95 to sit at a table, listen to loud music, and eat dry chicken. Spend $10 and try 40 cakes! If you love pie and only pie, get the pie pass for $10. At this time, we have 33 pies entered in the competition. People move around the space, selecting their bakes and genuinely connecting. Each contest year, as I walked around, I could hear people having great conversations, laughing, tasting, and genuinely enjoying themselves. I love that aspect of it. It’s a way to create community while raising money for Cornerstone. 

Do you have a personal connection with Cornerstone?

When I was a kid, Chicago didn’t have a lot of homeless services. My parents were part of a mission organization based in Uptown. I remember one day, the building beside ours caught on fire, and suddenly the people who lived there had nowhere to go. They ended up staying in our dining room. Back then, Uptown was a very impoverished neighborhood. I mean, abandoned buildings, burned-out cars, open fire hydrants, you get the idea. Early on, city workers would pick up people who were homeless and drop them off to stay in our dining room. Cornerstone Shelter started in our home. I witnessed the need and desperation even as a kid. 

Our dining room was ok as a short-term solution but we quickly realized that we needed a facility and staff that could really help people long-term. That was the beginning of Cornerstone Community Outreach. The very first shelter was for women with children. Since then, it has grown and grown. Today, Cornerstone has two family shelters, a shelter for men and a shelter for women. There is always a need for shelter.

Over the years, I have volunteered within the programs, distributed food bags to our neighbors, wrapped and given out Christmas presents. You name it! My husband has worked there for over 25 years. He’s the Executive Director. 

It’s inspiring that this event allows you to bake a cake, bring it to the competition, and help people in poverty and experiencing homelessness. I am deeply aware of the need and glad to be part of fundraising for such an important cause.

Have you learned any valuable lessons from organizing the event?

The first year, we only had three judges and over 140 items for them to taste! By the end, they were as sick as dogs. God bless them! It was terrible! They did a great job, but that was rough! After that, I realized I needed a lot of judges! I’ve been in contact with well-known bakeries in Chicago and baking schools. These judges are highly trained and fantastic bakers. This year, I have ten judges. I’d love to have more because this is a lot of food to get through.

How does the judging work?

The judging is completely blind. The bakers drop off their bakes and each item is assigned a number. No name is on the label. After the bakers leave, the judges enter and start tasting everything. First, we judge the Best Baker category. Each competitor hoping to be named Best Baker should bring 5 – 7 baked goods from the different categories. Last time, the winner of Chicago’s Best Baker did not take 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in any of the individual categories but her grouping was strong. All 7 of her bakes were satisfactory to outstanding. A person could compete for Best Baker with seven bakes but two may be terrible and five may be fabulous. Those two bad bakes could make them ineligible for the Best Baker.

Once the judges select the Best Baker, all those bakes are placed in the appropriate category, bread with the breads, pies with the pies, etc. Then, those bakes get rejudged. The winners are announced 1st, 2nd, 3rd place in each of the seven categories.

What are some bakes that really surprised you?

Last time, the 1st place winner was Kevin Rak, whose Belgian waffles were so stunning that he beat out a table just loaded with unusual and delicious items- one of which was a pie-sized sausage roll made with homemade sausage by a British competitor and some European-style cheesecakes. I mean, those waffles were a surprise! The judges just melted when they tasted them.

We’ve had delicious gluten-free entries such as apple tart (which won first place), a massive flourless chocolate cake with berries and cream, a tomato pie, and gluten-free bread that was surprisingly good. 

The Chicago’s Best Baker Contest has so many benefits. Can you think of any that haven’t been mentioned?

Unless a person goes to school for baking and enters a professional competition, they are unlikely to get recognition for their baking skills. The Chicago’s Best Baker Contest wants to bring a bit of public appreciation to private bakers. Do you think your angel food cake is amazing? Well, so do all these other people!

Eating is its reward. Bakers love to feed people. There is something so beautiful about sharing food with strangers and having them be excited because your cookies are fantastic. It is very fulfilling.

Can bakers still register?

People who wish to register for the competition can still do so over the next few weeks. Registration will end about one week before the event. I hope to see you there!

Genesis, Thanks for creating and sustaining this exceptional event! We’re grateful to learn more about Chicago’s Best Baker Contest. Your creativity and generosity have meant so much to the amateur baking community and people experiencing homelessness.

Many thanks!

Click here to register at Chicago’s Best Baker Contest.

Shelter to Home – 2022 Annual Report

Join us as we celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of the 2022 CCO shelter guests! CCO is honored to welcome, assist, and support anyone in need of shelter. In 2022, people experiencing poverty and homelessness found shelter beds, meals, personalized services, medical care, employment assistance, training, and education. We especially want to celebrate those who moved into their own apartments!

Many thanks to all who gave time, goods, or made a financial gift. Your generous partnership has made safe shelter possible. We hope you will continue to support CCO’s mission in 2023. Click here to Donate Today!

If you missed our 2022 Annual Report mailing, please click here to join our newsletter mailing list.

“I lost my job” – Unhoused Seniors

“I lost my job because I am 60 with diabetes.

I got laid off due to the pandemic,

and my job never took me back on.”

– a Naomi Shelter Guest

For over 30 years, Cornerstone Community Outreach has welcomed unhoused neighbors of all ages into safe, supportive shelter. The doors swing wide for everyone, from families with newborns to senior citizens and all ages in between. The post below will focus on persons 51 years old and over who have found shelter at CCO in 2021 & 2022.

In 2021 – 2022, in the CCO Naomi Shelters, 187 people (40%) of guests were ages 51 and older. Nationally, the number of unhoused older adults continues to rise.

Many factors play a role in the “graying of homelessness.” The death of a spouse or family member with whom the guest shared a dwelling and costs is one cause. The emotional and financial toll of loss reduces the likelihood of maintaining housing. It’s harder to pay the bills alone. For those walking a financial tightrope, the results can be catastrophic.

Other guests indicated job loss, age discrimination at job interviews, behavioral healthcare issues, and chronic physical health challenges or a combination of these as primary factors. Age discrimination blocks guests from getting and maintaining a job. Employers often hire newer, younger employees who receive lower wages. Shelter guests who have worked blue-collar jobs often have the added issue of declining health due to decades of physically demanding work. Among the guests at the Naomi Women’s Shelter, several women over 50 with university degrees and years of work experience struggle to find employment.

Systemic issues contribute to the rise in older adults experiencing homelessness. A few of these factors are weak safety nets, incarceration, an increasing lack of affordable housing, and the end of COVID assistance.

Remaining in housing is a growing challenge for older adults. Senior citizens receiving Social Security face rising rental costs on a fixed income. A seemingly small financial issue can force someone from their housing. Compelled to choose between prescription medication, food, utilities, or transportation, low-income adults struggle to make ends meet. Loss, medical issues, or a behavioral health crisis can disrupt the fine line that keeps older Americans housed. When this balance shifts, homelessness can ensue.

Since the pandemic, unhoused seniors face longer subsidized housing wait lists and stricter protocols. The circumstances point to the need for shelter and services for those who lose housing and accessible subsidized housing to keep homelessness from recurring.

Older single adults need a place to recover from the destructive effects of poverty and homelessness. Case managers at the Naomi Shelters for Men and Women work to build trust with new shelter guests. From that foundation of care, staff can assist guests in finding jobs, housing, healthcare, and a sense of community.

Please consider making a donation that will support single adults at CCO today. Thank you!

For further reading visit –

Justice In Aging – Low-Income Older Adults Face Unaffordable Rents, Driving Housing Instability & Homelessness

USA Today – America’s Homeless Ranks Graying as More Retire on Streets

2022 Christmas Photo Album

The 2022 Holiday Season brought joy and cheer to the families and individuals sheltered at CCO. Each child received a stocking filled with toys, treats, and a new pair of pajamas. They each wore their new pj’s to the CCO Christmas Party, where they got to meet Santa, receive gifts, and celebrate the holidays with their family. The Christmas Party featured CCO Board President Chris Spicer as Santa Claus, loads of sweet and savory treats, and a hot chocolate station. The crowd went wild when Santa arrived with his bags of gifts!

The celebrated season would not be possible without volunteers who made the party exceptional. Thanks to all who worked as elves in Santa’s Workshop, sorting, wrapping, and decorating Christmas presents for the big day. Christmas at Cornerstone would not be possible without your generous donation of toys for children and gifts for teens and adults. Many thanks!

We hope you enjoy the 2022 photo album. Enjoy the smiling faces found in it!

Photo Credit: Nathan Cameron

CCO Family Portraits with Santa

CCO Christmas Party Album…

You can support families at CCO by making a financial donation today!

CCO Staff & Christmas Volunteers…

2023 Charitable Resolutions & Team CCO

Are you looking for a 2023 charitable fitness resolution? Only 9 Team CCO guaranteed entry slots remain for the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon (BACM)! Secure your spot today and become part of a dedicated team committed to providing shelter, meals, and wrap-around services for families and single adults experiencing homelessness!

Running for a charity is a great way to support a work you care about. It opens the doors for friends and family to throw their support behind you for a good cause.” Click here to learn more about Ted Jindrich and his commitment to charitable fitness and CCO. A long-time Team CCO runner, and board member, Ted has participated in 14 marathons since 2015 and has raised thousands of dollars for CCO shelter guests.

Most of us haven’t run one marathon. That’s ok! Team CCO welcomes walkers, joggers, and seasoned runners to participate. Your charitable fitness and fundraising goals will make a difference in the day-to-day lives of families and individuals experiencing homelessness. People like Sandra found critical help at CCO. Click here to read about Sandra’s Path to Peace. Last year, funds raised through Team CCO provided nearly 2,000 nights of shelter and over 6,000 meals!

Are you ready to join the team? Click here to visit the BACM Charity Team page. Once there, click the “Participate with this charity” button. Also, be sure to complete the Team CCO Participant Waiver form. See the image below for instructions.

Running the Chicago Marathon isn’t for everyone. We understand that. Perhaps you’d like to support CCO by donating new or gently-used items or making a financial donation. Whatever you choose, we are deeply grateful that you have partnered with CCO to provide shelter to vulnerable Chicagoans. Thank you!

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear CCO Supporter,

Merry Christmas from all of us at Cornerstone Community Outreach! I am so grateful that you have partnered with us in the past. CCO’s shelter guests need your support more than ever. Safe shelter remains a critical need. At Cornerstone, families and single adults experiencing homelessness receive holistic care and wrap-around services as they journey toward permanent housing.

I would like to ask you to continue to be a financial partner with Cornerstone Community Outreach. Our objective is to disrupt the cycle of poverty by providing safe shelter while exploring long-term housing solutions for our clients. While at Cornerstone, our residents experience a higher quality of life through professional, compassionate care that helps them on the road to permanent housing.

I hope you’ll take a moment and read Sandra’s story. Her path to peace has been a long one. Sandra and her 11-year-old daughter arrived at Cornerstone in a courageous move to escape the cycle of abuse in her life. She described the time before arriving at Cornerstone as the “lowest point in my life.” Thankfully, while with us, she found the support, care, and renewal that she needed. Today, she’s housed and employed using her lived experience to help other families who are homeless. I’m grateful that Sandra dared to escape her harmful past and found a new start at Cornerstone!
Click here to read about Sandra’s Path to Peace.

CCO is one of Chicago’s largest homeless shelters committed to providing immediate safe shelter and pathways to permanent housing for families and individuals from all walks of life. We welcome over 325 households each year in collaboration with the City of Chicago and a team of nonprofit partners. CCO prioritizes inclusivity, accepting clients from difficult circumstances by supporting many household structures, including intact families, single adults, LGBTQ+ families, and more. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure everyone has access to safe housing, nutritious food, and, most importantly, dignity, no matter their plight.

I would like to invite you to be part of more success stories like Sandra’s by financially supporting our vital work with a 100% tax-deductible donation. Have a wonderful holiday season! Best wishes in the coming year from all of us at CCO!

Andrew Winter

Executive Director

Cornerstone Community Outreach (EIN 36-3670992) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Denise, from Isolation to Hope

“In my storage unit, I was too cold to rest. I wanted a place to lay my head down and sleep. I would wrap up in ten blankets, trying to get warm.”

– Denise

Denise seems to have an endless abundance of joy. She’s a very petite woman in her late 50s with bright eyes and a wide, welcoming smile. She exudes positivity and wields an upbeat personality. Denise had a solid and consistent work history. For 30 years, she worked at a major Chicago company. In 1979, she began a part-time position in the mailroom. During her years on the job, she got promoted twelve times, working her way up to full-time Engineering Clerk. After taking early retirement and giving funds to her son to pay for his college education, Denise felt she needed to return to work to make ends meet. She found a job as a secretary for a moving company. After a few years, that company relocated to Florida. Denise found herself unemployed and alone. Too young for social security but old enough to experience age discrimination when looking for work, she knew she needed help.

Finding a job proved difficult. Denise eventually lost her apartment. She had an outdoor storage space that measured 10 feet by 10 feet in a lot on the south side of Chicago. It held all the items from the apartment she lost, and with nowhere else to live, Denise moved into it. Without any heat and only a few flashlights for light, Denise prayed, read her Bible, and cried a river in that storage unit. Keeping clean was a real challenge. When she tried to wash up in a public restroom, she endured looks and comments from people who seemed to fear or despise her. Her former life was utterly lost.

Denise stayed in her storage unit for three long years and throughout notoriously harsh Chicago winters. She often rode the public transit system to escape the cold. “I was tired of riding the buses to stay warm, but no one ever robbed me. An angel must have been sitting beside me.” Throughout those years, Denise hid these circumstances from her son, who lived out of state.

Hard-working, sweet, and struggling to survive, Denise had been forced so far out on the margins of society that she couldn’t find her way back. This past January, Denise arrived at Cornerstone. After three years of living alone, one would think that Denise would find sharing a shelter space with 74 other women at Naomi Shelter nearly impossible. Not so! Denise soon began to encourage women younger than herself, giving wisdom and helping to defuse tense situations.

While at Cornerstone, Denise felt that God told her, “I’m giving you the rope, but it’s up to you to grab ahold and pull yourself up.” She did just that. With the help of her case manager, Denise completed security guard training, earned her PERC (Permanent Employment Registration Card), and got a full-time job as a security officer. When speaking about Naomi Shelter staff, Denise said, “They supported me. The case managers got to know me and took time with me. I felt they respected me.”

For the last eight months, Denise has worked full-time as a security officer for a domestic violence shelter that serves women with children. She enjoys her work immensely. The day Denise moved into her apartment, she shouted, “Lord, You have been good to me!” She then sat down and cried tears of gratitude.

Denise’s story is about age discrimination, isolation, and hope. Although she had a solid work history and experience, Denise struggled to find a job which caused her long stretch of homelessness. She sees her arrival at Cornerstone as a turning point in her life. Once she had shelter and support, she climbed out of the situation she was stuck in. We have been blessed by her stay and applaud the employer that saw what we see in Denise – a resilient, enthusiastic, hard-working woman who simply needed a job.

  • Denise Hardy, as told to Beth Nicholls, originally published on November 25, 2015

I hope you enjoyed reading how Denise moved from isolation in her storage unit to hope and opportunity at Cornerstone and beyond. CCO needs your support to continue the critical work of welcoming anyone experiencing homelessness. Please consider donating today. Your gift could transform lives and bring hope to those who need it most. Click here to visit our Donate Page.
Thank you!

  • Beth Nicholls, Cornerstone Community Outreach

Sandra’s Path to Peace

“The path to peace is a lifelong journey. Sometimes you’re on a paved road. 

Sometimes you’re walking on a gravel or dirt road.

 It’s still your journey. It’s not just for a bit of time. It’s for a lifetime.”

Sandra

“My daughter Isabella was only 11 years old when we had the most surreal conversation of her young life. It was a Saturday morning in June of 2021. Secretly, we discussed the abuse we faced daily. We were no longer going to be told we were worthless and substandard. We decided it was time to leave my husband and California behind. Together, we looked at a map of the United States and chose Chicago.

From that moment forward, we quietly and methodically carried out our escape plan. Isabella and I came back from the laundromat with fresh, clean clothes. We folded and placed them carefully into Isabella’s dresser we had emptied earlier. To anyone looking on, it appeared that we were doing regular household chores. Internally, we were fighting a storm of fear mixed with absolute determination as we prepared to go. It was all done in stealth mode, very fast, very ‘hush-hush.’ When my husband left Monday morning, we took the clothes, identification, and precious photos out of Isabella’s dresser and put them into our suitcase. Lisa, Isabella’s beloved teddy bear, came along with us. We were moving halfway across the country, leaving the certainty of pain in California. The uncertainty of the unknown lay ahead. Inwardly, we felt a gentle gust of hope roll over us as the bus carried us away.


I was only seven years old when my mother died. She passed away two days after my youngest sister was born. It was as if a bolt of lightning had struck our family. In a flash, everything changed. I had grown up with abuse from my stepdad. When my mom died, my two older siblings and I were shuffled back and forth between our three aunties’ houses. My three younger siblings, which included my baby sister, were put with their biological grandmother, my stepdad’s mom. She was a violent woman and thought my younger siblings should never see us. We only lived five houses away from each other in a small Mississippi town, but we were a world apart. Sometimes my little brother would sneak over to see us. She would come flying down the road beating him and dragging him all the way home. He just wanted to see us. These memories of fractured relationships have stayed with me. They influenced the decisions that have formed my future. 

Scarcity also played a role in my life. My upbringing was impoverished. Everyone I knew was struggling to get by. I’m not ashamed of my background. I believe it’s what made me want to go into social work. I felt driven to be part of the solution and help others. I worked hard in school and went on to college. I graduated from Mississippi Valley State University with a degree in Social Work. Through college, I learned to set goals and achieve them. My friendships became like family. I began to grow a strong support network and understand its importance. As I worked toward my degree, I could feel the variability and chaos of home replaced by a set routine with some sense of order. I understood that my life experiences could help and benefit others. Little did I know that in the future, the splintered pain of the past would grow into a vast support network for myself, Isabella, and other families with similar experiences.


The Greyhound arrived at the Chicago Station. Isabella and I were free from our life in California. Tired and apprehensive, I held onto the hope that in Chicago, we would find a home where we wouldn’t endure endless criticism and torment. I found a rooming house-type situation on the Southside of Chicago. It was just a bed. No meals. No help. We had to walk several miles to a dollar store to buy food. We had arrived in a food desert. It was tough. I knew we needed to get out of there and find a place that offered us some assistance and practical support. From my phone, I Googled “Homeless Shelter for Families.” Cornerstone popped up, so we got on a train and headed to the north side. Hannah Shelter had space for us! The kitchen had put a few plates of food aside. That night we dined on spaghetti, coleslaw, and chicken. We came hungry, the food was good, and we were glad to have it.

I was 35 when we arrived at Hannah Shelter. Most parents living there were in their early 20s and had younger children. The younger moms came to me for advice. I worked in social services in Los Angeles. I was glad to offer help, encouragement, and resources that could get us on our feet. We were in it together. It felt good to use my education and work experience to help others. 

While living at Cornerstone, I was allowed to train as a Life Coach. The training empowered me to start my own life coaching business, Path2Peace. Subsequently, Chicago Hopes asked me to facilitate parent support groups for the moms at Hannah Shelter. Chicago Hopes (CH) is a non-profit that provides academic support, mentorship, and services to parents and children experiencing homelessness. CH offers these essential services inside Hannah Shelter, so it is accessible for shelter guests. One day, I was meeting with the Family Engagement staff person,  I told her, “Your job is so cool. I would love to have your job.” Then she left! Chicago Hopes offered me the job. That’s how I became the Family Engagement Administrator! They only interviewed me as a formality. The job was always mine. I continue to do parent workshops, but I love my new position. It was another opportunity to uplift young moms recovering from homelessness, poverty, and abuse.

Isabella and I spent this Thanksgiving with my baby sister and my other siblings. My baby sister and I have been talking a lot. We hadn’t had a relationship until last year. Now, we’re making up for lost time! We weren’t able to be sisters before but we’re grown now. We don’t need someone to tell us whether we can talk to each other. Nobody is going to whoop us for behaving like sisters. And that’s what we are. 

Like our first meal at Cornerstone, our first meal in our new home was spaghetti. I felt gratitude and immense pride as we set up our new place. I knew it would be a home filled with love and safety, a true home. After a year in our basement apartment, we were able to move up to another unit in the same building. We cleaned out the old space and gave thanks. It cared for us that year that we lived there. That year of new beginnings and new relationships on our path to ever-growing peace and connection. 

I recalled the field trip we took to the zoo just a few days before moving from the shelter into our apartment. I felt free at the zoo with the moms and kids from Hannah Shelter. It was a warm summer day, and the sky poured. We all began screaming, laughing, and running in the rain. It seemed like everyone felt a surge of joy and peace at that moment. No matter what we had all been through, we were together. We supported each other through the hard times and the good times, too. I felt like the deluge ended all the pain and mistreatment. It was the end of homelessness and the end of being abused for Isabella and me. It was a perfect way to end it all.”


“She was bent but not broken.

She fainted but did not fail

and rose to the challenge to overcome each obstacle thrown her way.” 

– Shirena Houston, Hannah Shelter Program Manager, when asked to comment about Sandra


“I want to thank my Program Director and Case Manager,

Shirena Houston,

and the Cornerstone Community Outreach staff

for your love and support during one of the lowest moments of my life.”

– Sandra


This true story was written from conversations between Sandra and Beth Nicholls. 

Names have been changed. 

2021 Annual Report – Your Amazing Impact!

Click the images below to read the 2021 CCO Annual Report. In it, you’ll find exciting information about the good things happening every day at CCO. The graphic above shows that 104 households (192 individuals) moved out of CCO into their own homes in 2021! Now that’s cause for celebrating!

Please consider making a financial donation that would improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness. A $25 donation covers the cost of one person for 24 hours at one of CCO’s shelters. Your donation will provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and wrap-around services to a person in need. Click here to support CCO’s mission to address homelessness, provide shelter, accept people, and help them find a home.


30 New Beds – Respite from Uncertainty

People can have a respite from the fear and uncertainty of sleeping in their car, on the train, or outside. They can have a shower, meals, and a bed. More than that, they can have a renewed spirit and a renewed sense of hope.
– Eve Haycock, Naomi Women’s Shelter Supervisor

Thirty additional beds have been added to Cornerstone’s Naomi Women Shelter for Women. These crucial beds, staff, and services will help bridge the gap between vulnerable women experiencing homelessness and safe, supportive shelter.

In 2021, 30% of women arriving at Naomi Women’s Shelter had lived on the street the night before. Eve Haycock, Naomi Women’s Shelter Supervisor, states that several women had been living for months in their cars while working part-time, minimum wage jobs. Without a secure place to sleep, eat, and recover from work, they were stuck in part-time positions, which lengthened and compounded their experience with homelessness. Fortunately, having safe shelter and wrap-around services has allowed many women to gain full-time employment, which increases the likelihood of getting stable housing.

Eve had also noticed that this group of new arrivals were often unwell, and some needed immediate medical care. One new shelter guest had been on the streets and suffering from cancer. Case managers and on-site Heartland Alliance Health medical professionals swiftly connected her with the Rush Hospital Oncology Department. Heartland Alliance Health has been a valuable partner in the effort to improve the health of CCO’s medically fragile shelter guests.

Thirty additional beds mean that 30 more women will have a raised quality of life, access to essential services, and a place to build relationships. In short, they will be allowed to live instead of simply surviving.

The night before I came to CCO, I slept out on a park bench.” Take a moment and read Carla’s story from the CCO Archive.

We hope you will join Cornerstone in meeting the needs of vulnerable women. Please consider making a donation that allows CCO to establish a computer lab, purchase a new copier, and other essential and programmatic necessities. Or consider donating to help pay for shelter beds and supportive services.

Your financial gift improves lives in a very real way. Click here to visit CCO’s donation page.