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Cornerstone: Building a Stronger Community Together in 2024

As we step into the new year, Cornerstone remains steadfast in its commitment to its mission of keeping people safe, fed, housed, and clothed. However, our mission extends beyond these basic necessities. We also strive to foster a sense of togetherness and unity within our community, recognizing that our collective efforts can lead to a safer, healthier, and happier place for all to live.

Meeting the Growing Needs

The challenges we face are undeniable. Each day, we witness the growing demand for our services. Families and individuals who turn to us for assistance are facing increasingly difficult circumstances. To continue serving our community effectively, we rely on the generosity and support of individuals like you.

Over and over we ask for monetary donations, food, supplies, and your valuable time as volunteers, and we are deeply grateful that you consistently rise to the occasion. Yet, despite your unwavering support, we still find ourselves facing daily struggles.

At times, our bank account balance hangs in the balance, making us wonder if we can meet the payroll for our dedicated employees. Shelves that should be stocked with essential items can be bare, forcing us to make tough decisions. We often must delay necessary repairs until we can secure the funds or find skilled volunteers willing to contribute their time and expertise. Our requests for assistance are never-ending, and the burden can weigh heavily on our shoulders.

The Endless Task and Luke 11:9-13

In the face of these challenges, we are reminded of the words from Luke 11:9-13: "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." We continue to ask, seek, and knock because we believe in the power of community and the collective goodwill of those who share our mission.

Rising to the Challenge

In 2023, Cornerstone served over 1,500 individuals per week through our various programs, including the Community Kitchen, Food Cupboard, Clothing Bank, Diaper Bank, Homeless Shelters and other programs. This is a significant increase from the approximately 1,000 individuals we served weekly in 2022. Unfortunately, if January is any indication, the numbers in 2024 will continue to rise.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to organizations like the Midwest Food Bank and Connecticut Foodshare, which provide us with thousands of pounds of food each month. These partnerships are essential to our ability to meet the growing demand for food assistance.

Local food pantries like HVCC, Crystal Lake Food Pantry, and Iglesia Fuente de Salvación Misionera Pantry have also played a crucial role in supporting our Community Kitchen and Food Cupboard. Together, we strengthen each other's capacity to serve our community.

Protecting Our Homeless Shelters

Our Homeless Shelters face the immense challenge of keeping individuals off the cold streets during winter. Our Shelter Director, Jenn Kirchmeier, continues the meaningful work of her predecessor, Bryan Flint, Sr., by collaborating daily with organizations such as Journey Home, Mercy Housing, Salvation Army, CHR, First Choice Health Centers, Vernon Public Schools, Vernon Social Services, and all emergency services in Vernon (Police, Fire, and Ambulance) and all Connecticut Homeless Shelters. Together, we ensure that those without shelter have a safe haven during harsh weather conditions.

Join Us in Making a Difference

To further support our mission, we invite you to join us at upcoming fundraising events.

Print or Save and show your Server!

On February 7, Frankie B's Tavern in Vernon will host a fundraiser night to benefit Cornerstone, with 10% of proceeds donated to our cause.

The following day, on February 8, Vernon Middle School's EPOCH Art Program will host their annual Art from the Heart fundraiser, with activities, food, and more, at an affordable admission fee of only $3 per person.

Mark your calendars for March 29 when Cornerstone and Rockville United Methodist Church will host the annual Good Friday Walk, a 3-mile walk with all proceeds going toward Cornerstone's various missions.

Additionally, we've created an Amazon Wish List to help with essential items such as toilet paper and paper towels. These everyday items are vital for our operations but often overlooked when it comes to donations. By contributing to our Amazon Wish List, you can help us allocate more funds directly into our programming.

Volunteer and Share Your Expertise

If you have skills and expertise to offer, we are in need of skilled volunteers in areas such as social media management, graphic design, cleaning, dishwashing, event planning, and more. Your talents and your heart can make a meaningful impact as part of the Cornerstone volunteer team. Check our Volunteer Opportunities to see where you could help.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who continue to support Cornerstone. Your unwavering dedication and generosity allow us to carry out our mission, even in the face of mounting challenges. Together, we are making a positive difference in the lives of countless individuals and families in our community. We look forward to the year ahead, united in our shared mission of building a stronger and more compassionate community.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV):

"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

This verse beautifully encapsulates the idea that, as a community, we are interconnected and function as one entity, just as the body of Christ is composed of different parts working together. It emphasizes the importance of each individual's contribution, highlighting that together, we can make a significant impact in fulfilling our mission to help those in need and create a better, more caring world.

Alexis Flint

Programs and Operations Director

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