Pastor Corey Brooks is spending the next few months camping atop a building on Chicago’s South Side, braving the frigid, unforgiving air and giving up the comforts of his home, all for an incredible cause.
Brooks, who leads Project HOOD, an organization that seeks to empower and equip individuals and families, is on a mission to help stop chaos, gun violence and death, embarking on a faith-based mission to raise $35 million to create a youth and opportunity center.
Why Brooks goes camping
“We have a very dangerous environment, especially for children,” Brooks told Faithwire from the top of the roof he is camping on. “They can’t even go and play in parks and outdoors. Right before we took that call, there was filming in some projects that are right behind me, and it was on the playground.
The preacher said a 30-year-old man was shot and others injured in an area where children are expected to laugh and play. instead, tragedy eclipsed the sacred place of childhood joy.
“That’s the kind of environment we live in. We need a safe place for children. We need a safe place for young adults,” Brooks said. “Not just a safe place, but a place where they can learn a trade, a place where they can get trauma counseling, a place for arts and drama, sports, entrepreneurship and technology lessons .”
And that’s precisely why Brooks is spending 100 days living outside in the cold, raising awareness and trying to raise the tens of millions needed to create this community center – a place he believes could help transform the lives of young and old in Chicago.
Watch Brooks speak with Faithwire from a freezing Chicago rooftop:
Brooks began his “Tent-A-Thon” event Nov. 20 and plans to continue through Feb. 28, spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas camping for the cause.
But he doesn’t do it alone. The preacher brings together CEOs, celebrities, and other interested parties from across America to come together and help raise the funds needed to launch the center.
Brooks, who hopes to leave the rooftop on Feb. 28 with the $35 million raised, even invites some of those people to camp with him during the effort, with the media continuing to take notice.
“The center is going to cost $35 million and that’s what I want to raise,” he told Faithwire. “I want to get it all out and the reason I say that is I don’t want us to be in debt…and our community needs to have a place that’s debt free so we don’t have to worry about sacrificing programs and people to pay mortgages.
Brooks is no stranger to good works
This isn’t Brooks’ first rodeo when it comes to hosting a camp for a good cause. In fact, his “Tent-a-Thon” is set 10 years after the exact time the pastor did something similar in 2011. He raised enough money to buy – and then destroy – a hotel in which crimes infamous events were taking place.
“Ten years ago I climbed on the roof of a motel to bring attention and awareness to violence and also to raise money to buy this motel which was full of sex trafficking, drugs, gangs coming and going,” he said. mentioned. “So I went up on that roof and stayed there for 94 days and raised enough money to eventually buy it and tear it down.”
Brooks – who is known as the ‘rooftop pastor’ for a reason – recalled feeling “led by holy spirit” to take these steps after a young man was shot and killed. It was at this man’s funeral that Brooke first felt invited.
“We had his funeral and at the end of that funeral, I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘Hey, these are some guys here with guns,’ and I said a prayer and it was like a miracle,” he said. . “Some guys got up and turned in their guns that day – 3 guys – then we found a fourth gun under the seat.”
The preacher said he made a commitment to God that day to follow his example to help reduce violence in Chicago.
A message of hope
It was that prayer that led Brooks to the motel and now to his latest quest: building the community center. Brooks hopes to use the 10th anniversary of his first campsite to create something amazing.
“We decided to start over [and], instead of trying to tear something down, we are building something,” the pastor said. “And instead of me being alone on the roof, we have…CEOs, celebrities, pastors, athletes. Everyone is trying to help.
Brooks concluded his conversation with Faithwire by offering some truly touching words for anyone losing hope amidst the chaos and dismay of today’s culture; he urged people to “keep fighting and keep believing”.
“We serve a mighty God, and the fact that our God will eventually triumph means that ultimately we have to keep fighting and keep believing,” Brooks said. “And things are going to get tough, things are getting tough. Sometimes you want to throw in the towel, but those are times when you just need to rely on the power of the holy spirit.
He concluded, “Whatever you do, don’t stop believing.
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