The Cornerstone Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Rockville, Connecticut, a former textile mill city about 15 miles northeast of Hartford.
The Foundation was started in 1982 by Helen Syriac, a local resident and parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Vernon. She was so moved by the death of a homeless man, Vern Cook, that she decided to create a place for caring and sharing. She went to her Pastor, and asked him if they could use the church library as a shelter. "If one person was seeking shelter, there must be others," she reasoned.
Her Pastor agreed, and the first shelter for the homeless in the Vernon area was opened at Sacred Heart Church. During the first year, 143 people were sheltered, many of whom were single mothers with children. This original shelter still exists today.
Helen felt a strong urge to open a "drop-in" center in Rockville, to provide a Christian environment for those who needed a listening ear. She called a few friends, shared the vision, and prayed. An initial site was identified, and after praying for the start-up money, within a few hours a person called and offered a jar of coins he had saved for several years. It was the exact amount needed!
From that humble beginning, The Cornerstone Foundation has become the multi-faceted community resource it is today.
I'd like to share a story with you about a little boy and his family who came to the Soup Kitchen. Lunch was over and we were in the process of cleaning and preparing for the evening meal when a mother and her two children (a four year old who I will call Johnny and his two year old sister Patty) came for something to eat. They went directly to the serving table and Johnny asked, "What kind of food do you have?" Since lunch was over and our serving table was empty, we offered to make plates consisting of ham and cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks, chips, milk or juice, and peaches. As he was chewing on his sandwich, Johnny looked at me and said "This is the bestest food I ever ate." To see the smiles on the faces of the children as they were eating their food, you would think it was a gourmet meal. When they left the "thank you" was so sincere it touched me deeply. There are many similar stories I could have shared with you but this one has captured my heart.
I know without a shadow of doubt that we could not have provided Johnny with the "bestest food" he ever ate without the help of people like you.
Helen Syriac Founder & Executive Director Cornerstone Foundation
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Over the years, we have become a trusted grassroots, community-led, not-for-profit provider of social services that make downtown Rockville, Vernon, and surrounding communities better places to live. We have touched thousands of lives, from little tykes to seniors, and we've earned a reputation for genuine compassion, responsiveness to needs, logistical diligence and financial integrity.
We invite you to check out the rest of our website and contact us if we may be of service to you, someone you know, or if you would like to somehow assist our efforts.