While most of the country cringed at the mention of the polar vortex and hit the couch for some Netflix, some folks in our native Chi-town knew that this type of cold can be downright dangerous, life-threatening even. So instead of bundling up at home, Candice Payne grabbed her credit card and headed out into the bitter winds to help the people who needed it the most. The homeless.
The Chicago native paid for twenty hotel rooms at the Amber Inn herself, and then rounded up support to pay for an additional forty rooms at the Bronzeville hotel. In all, Candice and her volunteers kept around eighty homeless Chicago residents safe and warm while the worst of the winter weather passed.
The timing couldn’t have been better. Just before the temperature dropped, a propane tank explosion and ensuing fire destroyed part of a popular homeless encampment, forcing the fire department to confiscate the remaining propane tanks and leaving the residents without any source of warmth. The fire also left many people without the blankets and jackets that they rely upon to survive the normally harsh winters in Illinois.
Facing frigid temperatures is a dangerous proposition for the homeless, but without the safety of a camp and without blankets, this particularly intense cold streak would almost surely have taken many more lives.
In addition to providing a safe place for them to stay, Candice also made sure there was enough food for the more than eighty people, with an ad hoc kitchen providing three meals a day. Not to mention taking up a collection of winter-specific items like blankets and coats to replace what was lost in the fire.
It’s an act of generosity that might seem incredible, but Candice is no millionaire looking for a tax write-off. She’s a realtor, an average South Side Chicago resident, and now, she’s our hero.
Thanks for saving lives right here at home in Chicago Candice, you are what’s good in the world.