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Embracing Spring: A Time of Gratitude and Renewal at Cornerstone

Dear Cornerstone Friends,

Spring is here! Soon we will see flowers popping up and hopefully warmer weather. I know we are all looking forward to the ability to be outside and enjoy it!

During the cold months from December through February, we housed over 185 unique

individuals in our shelters during winter warming. We helped families, and single adults with

a bed and warm meals because of funding from an agency called Journey Home and from

donors who opened their hearts and wallets to be sure no-one in our community had to sleep out in the cold or go hungry.

April is the month where we celebrate all our wonderful volunteers who are the backbone

of Cornerstone operations. It is also the month where we send out our quarterly Appeal by

letter or email asking for your help to pay the bills so we can keep operating. Although we apply for grants and hold fundraisers, about 65% of our funding comes from individual donors or local businesses/organizations.

When you donate to Cornerstone, your money pays for safety net services to keep adults

and children fed, clothed, and housed. In 2023 we served 44,689 meals at our Community

Kitchen and started a new program to deliver food to residents of Vernon Housing Authority

homes averaging 200 people per month. The Food Cupboard gave out food equaling 327,441 meals which was an increase of 87,000 meals from 2022. They picked up an astonishing 333,663 pounds of food to distribute. The Clothing Bank gave out 121,153 items to 3750 shoppers, an increase of 30,000 items and 841 people. We give out hundreds diapers monthly and collaborate with the Vernon Schools to send food home on the weekend for about 45 families who need a little extra help.

Where does the money you donate go? While much of our labor force is volunteer, we spend about $80,000 a month on operating costs and salaries. We get a good part of our food free from Foodshare, Midwest Food Bank and local grocery stores but we still must transport and store the food. We have paid, certified cooks who work with the volunteers in our Community Kitchen that make amazing meals, Ask me about Roger’s mac and cheese! The kitchen is open 365 days a year generally from 8AM to 6PM. Our shelters are staffed with paid, trained monitors. Our family shelter is open 24/7 year-round and our family triage is open mid-afternoon until late morning. We have 3 full-time staff (including myself) and 27 part-time staff.

For 40 years, Cornerstone has operated because of caring donors, hardworking

volunteers, and lots of prayers. We are blessed that people are so caring and

compassionate. We truly cannot adequately express our gratitude! Even during tough times,

our community steps up and helps those people who need help to make it through every day. So, when you see the Appeal letter come your way, please consider donating.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of

these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

— Matthew 25:40

Peace and Joy,


Sharon Redfern

Executive Director

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