A West Side man is raising money to feed and house people experiencing homelessness as the city buckles down for the coldest stretch of the winter.
Jermaine Jordan raised hundreds of thousands of dollars last year to book hotel rooms to give people warm beds. He also created a soul food restaurant, Healthy Hot Free Meals, that provided quality food for anybody in the community at no cost.
Jordan is asking for more donations to his GoFundMe page so he can serve as many people as he can. Those interested in volunteering to help Jordan make meals for the food truck or do outreach at encampments can reach him through his Healthy Hot Free Meals website, by emailing Eatdaily@healthyhotfreemeals.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 somebody do care for them and do love them,” Jordan said.
Jordan purchased three vans that drive around to different encampments around the city to support people experiencing homelessness. He has six volunteers who help him to ferry people and their belongings to the hotels he has partnered with so they can have a warm place to stay during the frigid winter, he said.
“A lot of them saying they lost their jobs due to the pandemic,” Jordan said. “It’s freezing out there. You stand in one spot, and you don’t have no gloves, no hats, it’s sad. It’s horrible for them to not have anything.”
So far, Jordan has rented 43 hotel rooms this winter and feeds up to 200 people each day.
Jordan’s restaurant at 4100 W. Madison St. is currently closed for renovations, but he is continuing to feed those in need via a food truck that provides food for those on the streets as well as people who are staying at the hotel rooms he booked.
“We pull up to the homeless encampments. People want the food to be hot like it’s from a restaurant. We’re feeding them at the hotel. They can come downstairs and get their food and go back up to their room,” he said.
The food truck also makes the 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 carfare to get to the restaurant. And some don’t want to leave their encampments because they don’t want their belongings taken away,” Jordan said.
Jordan works hard to serve people experiencing homelessness and even funds much of the work with his own money because he knows what it is like to struggle.
“I grew up in the Henry Horner Home projects. We didn’t have much. When I was younger, I always wanted to help people if I had the opportunity,” he said.