For the 7th year in a row, a Chicago coffee shop owner, Pilot Pete (Peter Thomas), has been collecting and distributing coats and other necessities for the homeless in his community, especially clothes like coats that will help them survive the winters which can be quite harsh.
The initiative known as Coffee with a Purpose is an annual effort to help those who need it the most with donations.
This coffee shop tucked into a suburban part of Chicago may appear as a regular coffee shop; but, what’s happening behind the scenes is much more than a simple coffee cup to give you an energy burst.
He Wanted to Give Back to His Community & Get People Involved
Thomas explains that he came up with the idea to help the homeless when he was thinking about ways to give back to his community and get as many people included as possible.
At first, he didn’t think that his efforts will be so well accepted.
And, in the first year, together with the other volunteers who applied, just before Christmas, they managed to collect a stunning number of 3000 coats to give to the homeless.
This year, the 7th coat collection in a row, made six stops. They put the coats in the back of a 26-foot moving truck. Besides the coats, he also brewed impressive 40 gallons of coffee.
This amount was achieved using the donations from Elmhurst businesses that wanted to participates. He also gave the homeless baked goods donated by Rough Edges Confectionery.
The truck and the driver were from the Good Move Movers and the amazing truck handiwork signage was done by the amazing Angel Fancy Design Studio.
Shop how Much You Want without Having to Pay
At each of the stops, Thomas invited people to come and take what they need, without having to pay. In addition to coats, he also offered blankets, hats, socks, gloves, scarves, and hygiene items.
Thomas said how the pandemic increased the number of people who were in need of help.
Unfortunately, many shelters were locked and people weren’t allowed to go in or out. He thought it was proper to be extra giving.
Thomas’s mother Joni Morgan says she’s beyond proud of her son and who he’s become. Since a young age, he would find outsiders and even invited them in to help them feel welcome.
For Thomas, coffee is the idea metaphor for positive action-he considers coffee to be a motivator, a fuel, something that encourages people to do more and better.
He’s energizing people, helps them feel good, and wants to grow together with his community as a family.