No. 1: Thankfulness as we enter the New Year!

Jan 1, 2024

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Dear CLDI Family and Friends,

As we find ourselves beginning anew again after the magic of the holiday season, I am compelled to express my deepest gratitude for the incredible generosity and volunteerism that have defined our South Side Christmas stores. The spirit of giving has been truly palpable, and it warms my heart to witness the countless ways in which our community has come together to support one another.

The Christmas store, far beyond being a means to meet the material needs of our South Side families, has evolved into a profound touchpoint between our community members. It serves as a bridge, connecting families with the broader community in a way that transcends the exchange of gifts. This event, anchored in the principles of generosity and volunteerism, allows our team at CLDI to forge stronger connections with the families we are privileged to serve. In witnessing the selflessness of our volunteers and the open-hearted generosity of our community, it becomes evident that the true spirit of the season lies in the connections we build and the impact we make on one another’s lives.

It is especially heartening to see the ripple effect of our Youth Works program, which has not only empowered young individuals but has also become a catalyst for engagement within families. Some of the remarkable moms who initially shopped at the Orchard School Christmas store have now come full circle, dedicating their time and efforts to volunteer at the Riverside store. This interconnected web of support exemplifies the strength and resilience of our community.

As we wrap up another year of service and embark on a new one filled with hope and promise, let us carry the lessons of generosity and volunteerism forward. Together, we can continue to create a community that thrives on compassion and shared connections.







Currently reading & listening

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive is a memoir written by Stephanie Land. The book provides a compelling and poignant account of Land’s experiences working as a maid and struggling to make ends meet as a single mother. The narrative delves into the challenges of poverty, the impact of low-wage work, and the obstacles many individuals in the United States face trying to navigate the social safety net. Land takes readers through the daily grind of her cleaning jobs, highlighting the physical and emotional toll such work can take while also reflecting on broader issues of social class, economic inequality, and the resilience required to break the cycle of poverty. Maid is a powerful and honest portrayal of one woman’s journey through poverty and the determination to create a better life for herself and her daughter.

CLDI Monthly Snapshot

  • Our Youth Works team served our community through the South Side Christmas stores at Orchard Elementary and Riverside Middle Schools. Between Orchard and Riverside, we accumulated roughly 350 volunteer hours and had gifts that touched the hands of roughly 500 students!
  • The Youth Works team also completed a cycle of youth mentorship through the Warehouse Program with six kids from our community. This 8-week program focuses on spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional health.

Scripture to Meditate On

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

 Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

In this cherished Christmas scripture, Isaiah foretells the miraculous birth of a child who will bear the weight of governance and be known by extraordinary titles, embodying qualities of wonder, wisdom, might, eternity, and peace. This prophecy, echoed through the ages, continues to resonate as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, the embodiment of divine love and salvation, during the festive season. As we exchange gifts and gather with loved ones, may we reflect on the profound significance of this scripture and rejoice in the hope and peace brought forth by the birth of the Prince of Peace.




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Volunteers are a huge part of our impact on the South Side. We need volunteers to reach and love our neighbors. We would love your help making a difference on the South Side. Reach out, lean into your strengths and together we can increase our impact.  



Without your financial partnership, our efforts would be limited. We are so thankful and honored that you would consider giving. Donations help us dream big, and complete the work He has set out for us on the South Side. One time, monthly, or in other forms, every contribution counts.