What a year it has been. Without a doubt, we are living through one of the most challenging moments in modern history. From the COVID-19 crisis taking hundreds of thousands of lives, to the civil unrest in response to racial injustice, to the millions of people slipping into poverty as the result of the economic collapse, 2020 has been truly devastating. What’s worse is that the suffering is not equally distributed; the burden has fallen primarily on low-income families, many of whom were already living on the brink. This pandemic has made evident just how severe the disparities are between our citizens and how vulnerable so many of our neighbors are to unexpected hardship.
Since our inception in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty, we at CEDA have been dedicated to providing stability for the people of Cook County in times of need. Whether it’s through our WIC program ensuring children have access to healthy food or our LIHEAP program helping families keep the lights on, our services have been crucial lifelines which have upheld the dignity and transformed the lives of our clients.
The facts speak for themselves: just last year, CEDA served over 334,000 people through 35 Chicagoland locations and 118 partner intake sites! To so many Chicagoland residents, CEDA has been a light in the darkness just when they needed it the most.
We’re incredibly proud of our accomplishments, but CEDA’s decades of experience in serving the community has made it clear that we cannot fulfill our mission of eradicating poverty through providing relief alone. We are now expanding the scope of our work beyond direct services into creating long term, sustainable solutions for Chicagoland communities.
As part of our Home Weatherization program, we’ve built a 35,000 square foot training center in South Holland, Chicago to provide workers with the technical skills they need to attain job security and fair wages. We’ve also partnered with the Robin Hood Foundation’s Mobilitylabs to launch ENGAGE Harvey, a community-led initiative that will create programs to lift Harvey residents out of poverty. We’ve even taken preliminary steps to invest in affordable housing units throughout Chicago as part of the fight against the worsening housing crisis.
One day, this pandemic will be over. While many of us are anxious about what the future holds, we at CEDA are hopeful the projects we’re developing now will pave the way for a more equitable and integrated future for Chicagoland. We are using every resource at our disposal to not just help our struggling neighbors survive this crisis, but also to empower them with the means to thrive. Crisis births opportunity – for us, this is the opportunity to innovate, reimagine what is possible, and build the relationships and infrastructure needed to bring our new vision to life. We hope that you will join us in 2021 on this journey.
TOGETHER, we will transform distressed communities.
Be a part of our mission to eradicate poverty by making a gift to CEDA today.