Photo caption: Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday, February 5, 2023, gave homeless advocate Andy Robledo a check for $5,000 to help him give even more orange-colored, year-round tents to people living in Chicago on the streets, under bridges and viaducts with some sleeping in the parks.(Photos by Chinta Strausberg)
Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday, February 5, 2023, gave homeless advocate Andy Robledo a check for $5,000 to help him give even more orange-colored, year-round tents to people living in Chicago on the streets, under bridges and viaducts with some sleeping in the parks.
Facing Robledo and his team by the altar, Father Pfleger recited a verse from Matthew 25:35-40 about giving the poor something to eat, something to drink, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison and “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me….”
Father Pfleger praised Robledo for giving these tents to more than 215 people who were homeless people he said, “felt abandoned and neglected.” The tents so far cost more than $100,000.”
When his money ran low and the need for more tents became apparent, Robledo called Father Pfleger last year and said he needed some money to buy more tents. Father Pfleger, who brings gifts to the homeless at Christmas and food and blankets throughout the year, thanked Robledo for his “heart, his sacrifice and your caring spirit” for the homeless.
Pfleger told of how last November when the city had threatened to throw out the tents Robledo called Father Pfleger who called the city and told them, “You better leave those tents alone or we’re going to come down to City Hall….”
Father Pfleger told Robledo there were many people who called him thanking Robledo for what he did to help keep them warm. Father Pfleger received a round of applause when he handed Robledo a check for $5,000.
In thanking Father Pfleger, Robledo explained how his giving away the tents began with his own sobriety. He quit his corporate job and began driving around Chicago and was shocked to see numerous homeless people living on the streets, under viaducts and even in the parks.
The need to help them soon became overwhelming. Helping them became his passion. It was a sobering moment for him.
While Robledo said giving money to the homeless was ‘great,” he was stunned to see the growing number of people living on the streets of Chicago.
“I grew up in the city of Chicago, and I have never seen so many people sleeping on sidewalks and suffering.” So, Robledo kept driving around checking on the homeless hoping that the government would provide the help they needed. When that didn’t happen, Robledo said it was time to “step up and do something.”
The orange tents provide the homeless with a warm, year round home. His team includes Eddie who was one of the first persons who asked him for a tent that retains heat. “I believe that people deserve the opportunity to live” safely.
“They deserve the right to housing. They deserve a bath no matter where they come from. They deserve to live another day to survive, another day to get sober like I did,” he said. “I will continue to do this until government officials step up.”