Chance the Rapper to bring coats to Chicago's homeless population ahead of winter cold.

Chicago winters can be deadly, but this local musician is trying to help.

Chicago winters are awful.

And I say that as someone who has spent all 29 years of her life living in and around my dear Chicago city by the lake. Winters here aren't just "brrr, I'm feeling a little chilly," they're full on having to worry about losing a few digits if you leave your fingers exposed to the cold winter air for more than a few minutes.


In so many ways, you are the worst, Chicago. ... Why can't I quit you? Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

I can't even imagine how bad it must be to be homeless and have to endure sub-zero Chicago winter weather.

Sadly, many aren't able to endure the city's fatal freeze. And with an estimated 125,000 homeless Chicagoans gearing up to take on the winter, they could really use some help now more than ever.

A 2011 snowstorm shut down Lake Shore Drive, one of the city's busiest streets, leaving it looking like a scene out of "The Walking Dead." It gets so cold and snow can get so high that cars stop running, engines don't work. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

And that's where Chicago-born artist Chance the Rapper comes in.

"They say I'm saving my city, say I'm staying for good / They screaming Chano for mayor, I'm thinking maybe I should," Chance raps in "Somewhere in Paradise," one of two songs he premiered on the "Saturday Night Live" stage last week.

His history-making performance — he was the first independent artist to appear as a musical guest on "SNL" — got rave reviews, but it's those lyrics and how he's living up to them that's making news today.


Here's Chance performing at the 2014 Made in America Festival. Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch.

So how is he "saving his city"?

On Dec. 16, 2015, Chance launched Warmest Winter 2016, a fundraising effort to help raise money to get coats to Chicago's homeless population.


His goal is to raise $100,000 — enough money to manufacture 1,000 EMPWR coats from The Empowerment Plan, a Detroit nonprofit.

The coats are self-heating jackets made from upcycled auto insulation, Carhartt fabric, and donor-provided materials. They can be turned into a sleeping bag and transform into an over-the-shoulder bag for carrying items.


Here's a bit from the EMPWR website (emphasis added):

"The Empowerment Plan can produce 1,000 coats on a budget of $100,000. Our studies show that for each 1,000 coats distributed, we can save 14 lives and reduce healthcare costs by $58,800 annually. Also, each recipient of an EMPWR Coat will make at least one less emergency room visit per year due to hypothermia. Assuming an average cost of $4,200 per visit, we estimate reduced healthcare costs of $58,800 for every 1,000 coats we distribute. Each year approximately 7% of homeless individuals die from hypothermia. Our coat reduces this statistic by over 20%."

Pretty cool, right?

It's not the first — and almost certainly won't be the last — time Chance will do something great for people in need.

Earlier this year, he helped find jobs for 500 people on Chicago's south side. And just months before that, he surprised a group of kids with a trip to the Field Museum.


And here he is at Coachella 2014. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella.

In 2014, he used his influence on social media to effectively call for a citywide ceasefire over Memorial Day weekend. And for 42 peaceful hours, not a single person in the city was shot.


Now, of course, that's not to say Chance is without his flaws or controversies. Some have argued that lyrics on some of his older songs are misogynistic and homophobic.

That said, the work he's doing off the mic is saving and enriching the lives of others, and that's worth a whole lot.

So, if you're looking for a cause to donate to — one that will literally save lives — consider Chance's Warmest Winter.

There'll be a lot of chilly Chicagoans ready to thank you.

The temperature on the day this picture was taken? Minus-16 degrees. Yikes! Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

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Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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