Across the street from his New Beginnings church on the South Side, Pastor Cory Brooks settled into an old routine Monday of camping out on a cold, windy rooftop. He just hit his goal of camping out for 100 days, but falls short of the $35 million fundraising goal for a new community center.
"We raised $10 million, which is a tremendous blessing. I'm really grateful and in 100 days that's remarkable but it's still not the money that we need to build this center, so I'm going to stay on the rooftop until we have every single penny to build this center," said Pastor Corey Brooks, CEO Project H.O.O.D.
Pictures of that community center decorate the storage containers upon which Brooks camps. It's how Brooks and Project H.O.O.D. plan to fight the rampant poverty and violence in the Woodlawn community.
"We have to build this center. It's urgent. It's dire. Kids in this neighborhood are dying every single day," he said.
Brooks started his rooftop action November 20, and we’ve seen him endure the worst of the Chicago winter.
"There are times and there have been days when I've been really in the dumps and really frustrated when I like for instance, when I finally came to the realization Friday that I may have to stay on this roof longer. You know, that was not a good day," said Brooks.
Brooks says he'll continue camping out for as long as it takes.
"It could change in a day if somebody could hear this story and be like, hey, you know what? Let me go get that crazy preacher off that roof and tell him here's the rest of the money for the community. One person could do it," said Brooks.
Pastor Brooks says each day he visualizes the community center and the work it will do. That fuels his fire to keep going.