More than 100 homeless people in Chicago were given a warm place to stay with fresh clothes and food as temperatures dived below zero thanks to Candice Payne, a 34-year-old real estate broker from the Windy City.
Payne came into national prominence earlier this week after she not only used her credit card to book 30 hotel rooms for homeless people amid record low temperatures in Chicago, but also organized a caravan of trucks and cars to provide them transportation and made them care packages.
Payne told The New York Times in an interview on Saturday that she made the decision to help in a “spur-of-the-moment.”
“It was 50 below, and I knew they were going to be sleeping on ice and I had to do something,” she continued.
According to The Times, Payne paid $70 per room for all 30 rooms when she made the booking at the local Amber Inn on Wednesday night. At the time, temperatures in Chicago reportedly reached a low of 25 degrees.
But after her effort began to gain more attention, Payne started to see an overwhelming amount of donations to her Cash App account to continue funding the effort.
That’s when Robyn Smith, the manager of the Amber Inn, told The Times that others in the community started to “piggyback off Candice” and anonymously call in to pay for more rooms.
So, Smith lowered the prices to accommodate everyone. Smith said her inn eventually had 60 rooms occupied later this week as part of the effort.
And though the rooms were initially supposed to just be booked until Thursday night, Payne said she received enough money, over $10,000, to provide warm shelter and food to the homeless people until Sunday.
“I am a regular person,” Payne told The Times. “It all sounded like a rich person did this, but I’m just a little black girl from the South Side. I thought it was unattainable, but after seeing this and seeing people from all around the world, that just tells me that it’s not that unattainable. We can all do this together.”
Payne also said she is exploring more ways to help homeless people in her community.
“This was a temporary fix, and it has inspired me to come up with more of a permanent solution,” she added.
SOURCE: The Hill – Aris Folley