As we bid farewell to 2023 and step into the hopeful embrace of 2024, it is a time-honored tradition to reflect on the lessons the past year has imparted. At Cornerstone, our journey through 2023 was marked by profound triumphs and poignant losses, each leaving an indelible mark on our mission to serve and uplift those in need.
Triumphs that Illuminate Hope:
In the tapestry of our accomplishments, 2023 stands out as a year of unparalleled community engagement. We witnessed an extraordinary surge in volunteer hours, breaking historical records and underscoring the unwavering commitment of our community to make a positive impact. The generosity extended to us was manifested not only in time but also in the form of an unprecedented volume of food donations.
One of the most heartening narratives unfolded as we saw families transition from shelter living to securing their own housing. A young couple's transformative journey, from homelessness and addiction to parenthood and stable employment, epitomizes the resilience of the human spirit. The joy of witnessing their success, with the mother now employed by Cornerstone, echoes the power of hope, support, and collective effort.
Navigating Losses with Grace:
However, amidst our triumphs, we also grappled with losses that weighed heavily on our hearts. The reality of turning families away due to insufficient shelter space serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive homelessness crisis. The strains on our Food Cupboard and Clothing Bank indicate a widening need, reaching not only lower-income individuals but also those with moderate incomes who never anticipated seeking assistance.
In May, our Cornerstone family suffered an irreplaceable loss with the unexpected passing of Bryan Flint, Sr., our Deputy Director. His absence left a void that resonated throughout our organization, a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the profound impact one individual can have.
Perseverance in the Face of Challenges:
Through the highs and lows, our dedicated staff and volunteers exhibited unwavering perseverance. Their commitment to our mission sustained us through difficult times, reinforcing the idea that, together, we can weather any storm. The resilience of the human spirit and the Cornerstone community is a testament to the power of compassion and shared purpose.
Looking Ahead to 2024:
As we set our sights on 2024, Cornerstone remains steadfast in its commitment to keeping people safe, fed, housed, and clothed. The goal for the upcoming year is to refocus on our core mission, reinforcing our dedication to those in need.
To achieve this, we aim to expand our network of long-term, consistent volunteers, recognizing that their invaluable contributions help us minimize costs and maximize the impact of our programs. Building stronger ties with local churches, businesses, organizations, and towns is a priority, as we acknowledge that collaboration is essential to addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by our community.
Guided by Faith:
Throughout our journey, Cornerstone has been guided by a higher purpose. The teachings of the Bible remind us of our duty to serve and uplift those in need. As we embark on the challenges of 2024, we draw inspiration from two relevant verses:
1. Philippians 2:4 (NIV): "Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others."
2. Proverbs 19:17 (NIV): "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done."
As we move forward, we trust in God's guidance and the unwavering support of our community. Cornerstone will persist in doing the next right thing, fueled by hope, compassion, and the collective effort of those who believe in our mission. Together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve and build a more compassionate and supportive community for all.
Programs and Operations Director