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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.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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