Polar Vortex: Rescuing the Homeless

Zakat Foundation of America’s staff and volunteers trekked into Chicago’s lethal subzero weather to clothe and feed the city’s burgeoning homeless with blankets, coats, hats, socks, warm meals, and water.

Just before wrapping up a long, bitter, numbing day of emergency distribution, Zakat Foundation director Halil Demir had a strong intuitive sense that he should stop at the local library where homeless neighbors might have taken shelter. As soon as he walked in, he told the librarian that he is a humanitarian with food and winter relief.

She looked up at him, wide-eyed, as if he'd been an angel sent from heaven.

“You are sent by God!” she said with a phone in one hand, and a long list of shelters in the other. “We’re closing soon and I’ve been on the phone all day trying to find shelters to take these 10 homeless people here. I can’t fathom sending them out there in the deadly cold.”

“No worries, my sister. We will rent hotel rooms for them for three nights, and we will host them at our headquarters in Bridgeview for breakfast and dinner.” Three days later, our homeless brothers were well-fed, well-rested, bathed, wearing new clothes, and most importantly, exploring job possibilities with us for a stable future.

Read more about Day 1 or Day 2.