Pastor Corey Brooks is spending the next few months camping out atop a building on Chicago’s South Side, braving the frigid, unforgiving air and foregoing the comforts of his home — all for an incredible cause.
Brooks, who runs Project H.O.O.D., an organization that seeks to empower and equip individuals and families, is on a mission to help curb chaos, gun violence, and death, embarking on a faith-fueled mission to raise $35 million to create a youth and opportunity center.
Why Brooks Is Camping Out
“We have a very unsafe environment, especially for kids,” Brooks told Faithwire from atop the roof on which he’s camping out. “They can’t even go and play in parks and outside. Just before we took this call there was a shooting 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 were wounded in an area where kids should be laughing and playing; instead, tragedy has overshadowed the should-be sacred place of childhood joy.
“That’s the type of environment we’re living in. We need a safe place for kids. We need a safe place for young adults to go,” Brooks said. “Not only just a safe place, but a place where they can learn a trade, a place where they can get counseling for trauma, a place for arts and theater and sports and entrepreneurship and tech classes.”
And that’s precisely why Brooks is spending 100 days living outdoors in the cold, raising awareness and attempting to bring in the tens of millions needed to create this community center — a location he believes could help transform the lives of young and old Chicagoans, alike.
Watch Brooks speak with Faithwire from a frigid, Chicago roof:
Brooks started his “Tent-A-Thon” event on Nov. 20, and plans to continue through Feb. 28, spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas camping out for the cause.
But he’s not doing it alone. The preacher is rallying CEOs, celebrities, and other interested parties from all over America to come together and help him raise the money needed to launch the center.
Brooks, who is hoping to leave the roof Feb. 28, with all $35 million raised, is even inviting some of these people to camp with him during the effort, with news outlets 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 raise it all and the reason why I say that is I don’t want us to be in any debt … and our community needs to have a place that doesn’t have debt, so we don’t have to worry about sacrificing programs and people to pay for mortgages.”
Brooks Is No Stranger to Good Works
This isn’t Brooks’ first rodeo when it comes to staging a camp-out for a good cause. In fact, his “Tent-a-Thon” is unfolding 10 years to the exact timeframe when the pastor did something similar back in 2011. He raised enough money to buy — and then destroy — a hotel in which nefarious crimes were unfolding.
“Ten years ago, I went up on top of the roof of a motel to bring attention and awareness to violence and also to raise money to purchase that motel that was full of sex trafficking, drugs, gangs were running in and out,” he said. “So, I went on top of that roof and I stayed there for 94 days and I 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 in the holy spirit” to take those actions after a young man was shot and killed. It was at that man’s funeral when Brooke first felt prompted.
“We had his funeral and at the end of that funeral I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘Hey, it’s guys here who got guns,’ and I said a prayer and it was like a miracle,” he said. “Some guys actually stood up and turned in their guns on that day — 3 guys — and then we found a fourth gun underneath the seat.”
The preacher said he made a commitment to God that day to follow His lead to help curb 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 is hoping to use the 10-year anniversary of his first camp-out to create something incredible.
“We decided to do it again [and], instead of trying to tear something down, we’re building something up,” the pastor said. “And instead of me being on the roof by myself, we’ve got … some CEOs, celebrities, pastors, athletes. Everybody’s trying to help.”
Brooks concluded his conversation with Faithwire by offering some truly touching words for anyone losing hope amid the chaos and consternation in culture today; he urged people to “keep fighting and keep believing.”
“We serve a mighty God, and the fact that our God is going to end up triumphant ultimately means that we’ve got to keep fighting and keep believing,” Brooks said. “And things are going to get hard, things do get difficult. Sometimes you do want to throw in the towel, but those are the times where you have to just rest on the power of the holy spirit.”
He concluded, “Whatever you do, don’t stop believing.”
***As the number of voices facing big-tech censorship continues to grow, please sign up for Faithwire’s daily newsletter and download the CBN News app, developed by our parent company, to stay up-to-date with the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***