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Guardian Band
Feb 25

Candace Payne: Meet the woman who rented hotel rooms for homeless in Chicago

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Edited: Feb 25

CBS News: First published on February 1, 2019 / 4:01 PM

 

 

 

A Chicago woman's act of kindness helped homeless people stay warm during this week's dangerous polar vortex. Candice Payne impulsively charged 20 hotel rooms on her credit card before it snowballed into a lifesaving effort by a group of strangers, CBS Chicagoreports.  

 

Payne booked the hotel rooms after realizing how life-threatening the sub-zero temperatures would be for the Chicagoans without homes. She posted about it on social media and soon the donations and offers to help bring food came flooding in.

"Maybe they didn't know how to or where to start to help, so I'm glad that I was able to be that vehicle," she told CBS Chicago. 

On a Wednesday, when temperatures plummeted to 22 degrees below zero, a group of homeless people had to abandon their tents near a highway after a propane tank they used as a source of heat exploded. But Payne and other volunteers dug deep into their pockets and picked up the tab for 60 rooms at a hotel on Chicago's South Side. 

Volunteers worked together like a family, turning a hotel bathroom into a makeshift kitchen and collecting donations to help replace the items that were lost. And they built lasting friendships even though most of them just met.

Jermaine and Robert, two men who stayed in a hotel room, call Payne their "angel."

When they got the offer for a warm bed, they were getting ready to sleep on the street or to be charged with trespassing in their attempts to escape from the cold.

"We don't get that type of help," Jermaine said. "I really needed them at that point, so they came right in time."

They hugged Payne and thanked her, touched by the unexpected kindness.

"We hear about that on the news and other places but I seen it up close and personal today, and I really want to thank y'all for looking out for our people," Robert said.

So far, this volunteer group has been able to cover three nights at the hotel for approximately 80 people. They're hoping to continue working together to help provide a more long-term solution.

Their generosity made sure dozens of people in need had a warm place to sleep when conditions outside were life-threatening.

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  • luci
    Apr 9

    Social media gives us a platform to use our voice for positive change. Last year for my 37th birthday, I mobilized a campaign to raise money to support Charity: Water's clean water project in Ethiopia. I asked all of my Twitter followers to make a donation and spread the word through Twitter and Facebook. We raised $92,568, bringing clean water to 4,628 people, 928 families in 19 communities. It was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for. As a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, I again went to Twitter after the Haiti earthquake to challenge major corporations and organizations to match my donation of $50,000. The Twitter challenge garnered enough visibility to receive dollar-for-dollar matches from three organizations and double matches from two others. This resulted in $400,000 dollars for UNICEF to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake. I'm also an Ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an advocacy and resource mobilization initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Most people don't know that 1.4 billion people have one or more neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These diseases blind, disfigure, and stigmatize its victims, but there is a solution. Just 50 cents can treat an individual for many of the most common NTDs for an entire year. All it takes it pocket change. What was the last thing you bought for 50 cents? There are many opportunities to spread awareness of global health issues through social media tools like Twitter. I'm optimistic that with the right campaign we can mobilize people to learn about how we can improve people's lives. This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report on NTDs, and while the report highlights successes in combating many of this diseases worldwide, it is evident that there is much more that needs to be done. I'm optimistic about successes we've had in global health and development. But how can we spread the word? The ONE Campaign's Living Proof project highlights the incredible stories of individuals whose lives have been saved because of interventions that work. We can use the success highlighted in Living Proof and spread them through social media to educate and inform people that while we still have a ways to go to rid the world of disease and poverty, we are moving in the right direction. Peace, Light, And Love, Alyssa