CCO Christmas Donations

Thank you for your interest in partnering with CCO to make a joyful Christmas experience for our families and single residents. You can choose to give financially, purchase gifts through our official Amazon Wish List, or make an appointment to drop off new gifts at our Donation Center.

Give a Financial Donation for Christmas

 

Give a Gift for Christmas

 

If you would like to give a Christmas gifts to Families and Single residents at CCO, go to our Amazon Wish List and see gift ideas from individuals, children, and parents. If you would like to purchase gifts from other retailers, contact our donation center, by email at donate@ccolife.org, about gift ideas and schedule a time when you can drop off your newly purchased gifts.

Please send new un-wrapped gifts to:
Cornerstone Community Outreach – Christmas Elves
4615 N Clifton Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

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.

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!

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.


Congratulations Carla!

From the CCO Archive: Carla’s story was originally published in September of 2013.

“The night before I came to CCO, I slept out on a park bench. I said I would never stay in a shelter. And what did God do? He put me right in a shelter and blessed me there.

 I thought people in a shelter had to sleep on the floor. I was afraid that people would steal my stuff and that it would be dirty. I thought I would have to leave in the early morning and stay out all day. Naomi House has been totally different. I have a case manager, three meals a day, I didn’t have to sleep on the floor or leave during the day. It isn’t dirty. I’ve improved mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

“Recently, I got a housing call and I was told, ‘It’s a go! Start packing!’ I have a place and I’m so excited about my little apartment! It’s perfect for me. And it makes me think about how good God is!”

-Carla, as told to Beth Nicholls

It would be difficult to talk to Carla and miss her determination and gratitude. After months of hard work, Carla turned the key to her own apartment. She looks back on her experience at the Naomi Shelter for Women as a stepping stone to stable housing. It has been a joy to work alongside her! Congratulations Carla!


Carla came to Naomi Shelter for Women from a park bench. Many shelter guests are welcomed into CCO after sleeping in doorways, vehicles, city buses, trains, and other places not intended for human habitation. In 2021, 30% of shelter guests entering the Naomi Men or Women’s Shelter Programs were “sleeping rough” the night before. Sleeping outside diminishes the physical and mental health of people experiencing homelessness. It makes them vulnerable to sleep deprivation, hunger, and violence.

Please stand with Cornerstone by helping to provide safe shelter space and permanent housing for Chicagoans experiencing poverty and homelessness. Your donation will ensure that beds, meals, and wrap-around services that available to someone sleeping on the street tonight. Click here to donate today!

585 Found Shelter in 2021

CCO is grateful to provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and supportive services to Chicagoans experiencing homelessness. With your help, Cornerstone welcomes families and single adults who were previously sleeping on the train, on a relative’s couch, in a car, in substandard or overcrowded conditions. People come to CCO from a variety of difficult situations. They all have one thing in common, a need for shelter and help finding housing. 

CCO accepts families of all descriptions. Dads with children, moms with children, grandparents with grandchildren, three-generational families, parents with special needs adult children, and families with service animals have all found safe shelter. Single adults experiencing homelessness need safe shelter too. At Cornerstone, single men and women can find support and a sense of community that reduces the isolation often associated with homelessness. CCO shelter guests receive critical, personalized assistance from case managers who access supportive services and permanent housing. 

CCO has kept its doors open throughout the COVID pandemic providing safe shelter and essential services. The staff has worked tirelessly to make sure the shelter facilities and all policies maximize safety for shelter guests. Services to CCO’s neighbors in need have continued, too.

Cornerstone shelter guests rely on your valuable support. Please consider donating today so Cornerstone can continue to welcome those experiencing homelessness tomorrow.

Larry Hope

CCO would like to extend a huge Thank You to the friends and family of Larry Hope. They have made a $1,000 donation to provide a meal to CCO shelter guests catered by Urban Tables. In addition to that they have donated $2,000 to replace the damaged CCO stove. These monetary donations were given on Larry’s birthday, February 12. These gifts are intended to highlight Larry’s life story, a story of love and true transformation. 

The following are the words of Heather Yutzy, Larry’s close friend for the last 30 years. 

“The meals and the money for the stove that we are giving to Cornerstone is done in honor of Larry Hope. Larry was a man who lived and worked in Uptown for many decades. 

I met Larry 30 years ago when he was volunteering at the Monday night meal for the neighborhood at Uptown Baptist Church. Larry and I served meals, cooked, and washed dishes side-by-side for many months before I realized he was homeless. At that time, he was living on the streets and largely staying in U-Haul trailers that were parked on a lot in Uptown. 

Larry was bright, articulate, funny, and curious. He was always learning and asking great questions. He began going to church and was welcomed by the congregation. He was deeply loved. In the late 80s, I saw Larry’s life being transformed by the love of God. Real change happened in his life but things didn’t change quickly.

Larry obtained employment at the Salvation Army Tom Seay Center. He poured his loving care for others into the meals he prepared there. He obtained his GED, and later in life, excelled in college courses. Through his faith, Larry overcame addiction and eventually began to work full-time caring for those on the streets of Uptown. His transformation reflected his faith and he brought his experiences to the streets to help others with physical and spiritual needs. 

Eventually, Larry met and began courting a woman in San Francisco. They married and settled there. Larry spent the final years of his life bringing his message of hope to the streets of San Francisco.

When Larry died, his family and friends were utterly devastated. His life was an example of radical change. He had blessed so many. The donation is in honor of Larry’s story and his journey of faith in Jesus. I truly hope it encourages and blesses others.”