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A Note From The CEO – May 2020

headshot of Christine Achre

It is hard to believe that it has been three months since the pandemic upended life in this country. While many people have been sheltering in place, our frontline staff has been working tirelessly to serve our homeless families in this difficult and ever-changing situation. Primo Center’s community of supporters has stepped up in ways we could not have imagined. To date, we have been extremely fortunate to have not experienced any cases of COVID-19 among our families across our program sites. We don’t know when this challenging time will end and there are many uncertainties ahead, but I am deeply thankful for our board members, past and present, leadership team and the entire staff’s unwavering commitment to the mission. I would like to especially acknowledge the essential onsite staff of program directors, house managers and maintenance teams who have kept our shelters running, ensuring the physical and mental well-being of the families we serve.

I am so humbled by the outpouring of support we have received from our gracious community, such as A Better Chicago, All Chicago, Bright Promises Foundation, Lavin Family Foundation, Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund, Burrell Communications, Local Market Foods, Rotary Club of Chicago Cosmopolitan and Owens Corning to name a few. Businesses, churches, organizations and individuals have provided masks, gift cards, computers, activity kits, catered meals and other essentials. So many old and new friends have made monetary donations. We could not have maintained the well-being of our families and staff without everyone’s help.

Here are some of the things our community has made possible:

Technology for Students – We are proud to announce that every one of the students in our shelters and permanent supportive housing sites has the equipment he or she needs to complete schoolwork remotely.

Personal Protective Equipment & Cleaning Supplies – We have been able to maintain high safety standards at our shelters due to generous donations of masks/gloves, sanitizing products and funds that have allowed us to purchase hospital-grade antibacterial solutions.

Essentials – Thanks to our supporters, we have distributed healthy groceries, toiletries, diapers and other basic necessities.

Extras – We are still able to creatively celebrate holidays and birthdays. Mother’s Day and Easter donations brought many smiles to our families. Birthday presents, treats and virtual moments of JOY are being provided by The Birthday Party Project despite not being onsite. Harmony Hope & Healing provides a variety of virtual music programs for both children and adults that aid in reducing stress levels.

We know that there is still a long road ahead of us. This has been a difficult time for everyone, and the needs of our most vulnerable families will only continue to grow. I am confident that with our community’s help, we will be able to continue meeting the challenge. Thank you so much for your support, compassion and commitment.

In service,

— Christine Achre, CEO, Primo Center

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