CHICAGO (CBS) — A South Side pastor has completed his cross-country fundraising walk, and has returned to Chicago.
WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports Rev. Corey Brooks spent 130 days on the road, on a fundraising walk to raise money for a community center in Woodlawn.
At a welcome home party at his New Beginnings Church of Chicago on Sunday, Brooks said — with all the publicity his walk received — a lot of people have been hitting him up for money personally.
“I had people call me from New York, wanting me to pay for their kid to go to a private Christian school somewhere in Virginia. Then I had somebody’s car was broke down in Alabama. I didn’t even walk through Alabama,” he said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports
He started the walk in June, and he has said he’ll need a knee operation when he’s done. He also said he has lost more than 30 pounds and went through four pairs of shoes.
The pastor made it clear the money he has raised doesn’t belong to him, but instead belongs to Project HOOD – the non-profit he founded to purchase land at 6625 S. King Dr., a shuttered Super Motel that had become a haven for drug dealers and prostitutes.
After spending 94 days on the roof of the motel to raise the $450,000 needed to purchase the building, Brooks had it torn down to make way for a new community center, intended to give local kids something to do.
“Kids are dying every day,” he said Friday as he neared the end of his walk. “So when I think about the whole walk, I think about how it’s been a significant part of our lives. But we got to keep on walking and keep on doing the things we need to do to enhance the lives of people.”
Brooks raised $500,000 for his Project HOOD during the walk, and said another donation will soon be coming.
“It’s more than Tyler Perry gave us,” Brooks said, referring to the $100,000 Perry donated to help buy the motel on King Drive.
Brooks needs to raise approximately $15 million total to build the community center he has planned for the King Drive location.
Donations are being accepted via Brooks’ campaign, Project HOOD (Helping Others Obtain Destiny) website.