Giving back to the community one ‘cornerstone’ at a time
CHICAGO - Approximately 25 Marines, many from the Chicago-based 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment joined other volunteers at the Cornerstone Community Center to help feed the needy and clean-up the facility May 13.
The volunteer effort was part of a week-long event dubbed “Marine Week Chicago.”
“Today the wonderful Marines came and wowed everyone,” said Sandy Ramsey, director of Cornerstone Community Center.
The Marines cleaned out the basement, managing to fill a large dumpster twice with recyclables. They also worked in the kitchen serving food and ate lunch with the Chicago natives they served.
“It takes Marines to get that basement in order,” said Ramsey. “We certainly appreciate their hard work.”
“It’s very helpful to have them here,” said Cornerstone resident Kenisha Mhoon. “We need the help here, but don’t have many people to help.”
Mhoon, her 4-year-old daughter, Kyla, and husband, Lamar, arrived at Cornerstone in February after losing their apartment due to a fire.
“They feed us three times a day, and try to find us housing,” said Kenisha. “They help us with the critical items.”
The facility houses everyone from infants to senior citizens and all types of families.
“It’s hard on us but we will get through it,” Kenisha said.
Individuals at the shelter usually stay to themselves because they don’t usually have anyone to talk to, Kenisha said.
“The Marines have told us stories we don’t usually get to hear,” she added. “People are still hanging around because they (Marines) are here, this place would usually be empty by now.”
The impact of the volunteer’s efforts hit close to home for many — especially for those Marines native to the Chicago area.
“It’s really nice to be close to home and have such a positive impact,” said Lance Cpl. Zach L. Edelstein, a native of Niles, Ill.
“Everyone is telling us how productive today has been and that we are making a difference.
“I’m thrilled they chose Chicago, none of this would be happening if it wasn’t Marine Week. I’m personally very proud to be involved
in the first ever Marine Week. I think today did a lot of good.”
The ongoing struggle never stops for such establishments, as the need for volunteers never slows down, according to Ramsey.
“We always need volunteers,” Ramsey said. “One of the Marines main things in life is to help and protect people. I’ve seen that today.”
The shelter doesn’t want the Marines to think their work went unnoticed.
“What the Marines did today lifts up the spirits of the entire staff,” said Ramsey. “I want the Marines to know they have made a difference here today.”