Woman purchases hotel rooms for Chicago’s homeless during deep freeze, inspiring others to pitch in

Woman purchases hotel rooms for Chicago’s homeless during deep freeze, inspiring others to pitch in
Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Thursday, Jan. 31, in Chicago. (Source: AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato/AP)

(Gray News) – Inspired by the kind act of a small business owner during the deep freeze across the Midwest this week, dozens of people pitched in to get hotel rooms for homeless people in Chicago.

Candice Payne, who owns a real estate business, first posted to Instagram on Tuesday that she was looking for help with transportation getting 70 people to the 30 hotel rooms she had booked.

“It don’t take much to be a blessing to someone else! It’s freezing cold and deadly temperatures outside!” she wrote. “For the people who has nowhere to go, no money, no food, family disowned them... need help it’s not much but to get them out the cold, feed them, and provide them with warm clean clothes is a start.”

That call to arms was answered overwhelmingly.

She told strangers from social media who contacted her, and together they booked 60 rooms for 100 people, CNN reported.

"I have people dropping by daily to help who have seen the story on Instagram," she told CNN. "They have volunteered money and time and cars because we had to get them to the hotel."

A later Instagram post highlighted a news story reporting the deaths of 15 homeless people in the cold. She revealed the rooms had been booked for a second night, and that she and others were bringing hot food to the people staying in them.

She also went driving around with a group looking for more people to bring in off the street.

"We got people from the police stations, hospitals, outside huddled around fire pits. We drove around looking for them," she told CNN.

According to CBS Chicago, they ultimately covered a third night’s stay in the hotel rooms, as well.

On Instagram, Payne noted how it was possible for regular people to pull together.

“The Good Samaritan could have been a millionaire ... no I am a small business owner who is not rich from the south side just helping!!!” she wrote.

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