WEST GARFIELD PARK — A West Side man is raising money to feed and house the homeless as the city collapses during the coldest part of winter.
Jermaine Jordan raised hundreds of thousands of dollars last year booking hotel rooms to give people warm beds. He also started a soul food restaurant, Healthy Hot Free Meals, which provided quality food for free to everyone in the community.
Jordan is asking for more donations on his GoFundMe page so he can serve as many people as possible. Those interested in volunteering to help Jordan prepare meals for the food truck or do outreach at camps can contact him through his Healthy Hot Free Meals website, by emailing [email protected] com or by calling him at 773-575-1745.
“I pray that we can come together and make a difference and change people’s lives. To be able to help them and show them that someone cares and loves them,” Jordan said.
Jordan bought three vans that go to different camps in the city to help homeless people. He has six volunteers helping him ferry people and their belongings to the hotels he has partnered with so they can have a warm place to stay during the freezing winter, he said.
“A lot of them say they lost their jobs because of the pandemic,” Jordan said. “It’s freezing over there. You’re standing in the same place, and you don’t have any gloves or hats, it’s sad. It’s horrible for them to have nothing.
Jordan has rented 43 hotel rooms so far this winter and is feeding up to 200 people every day.
Jordan’s restaurant at 4100 W. Madison St. is currently closed for renovations, but it continues to feed those in need via a food truck that provides food to people on the street as well as people staying in guest rooms hotel he has booked.
“We stop at homeless encampments. People want food to be hot as if it came from a restaurant. We feed them at the hotel. They can go down to get their food and go back up to their room,” he said.
The food truck also makes free meals more accessible to those who need them most, he said.
“It’s easier to come to them because some don’t have money, they don’t have a car to go to a restaurant. And some don’t want to leave their camps because they don’t want their belongings taken away,” Jordan said.
Jordan works hard to serve homeless people and even funds much of the work with his own money because he knows what it’s like to struggle.
“I grew up in the projects of the Henry Horner House. We didn’t have much. When I was younger, I always wanted to help people if I had the chance,” he said.
Listen to “It’s Alright: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” Here: