ELMHURST, Ill. -- Peter Thomas, owner of Pilot Pete's Coffee and Treats in Elmhurst, calls what he does "coffee with a purpose."
Every other week during Chicago's harsh winters Pete brings hot coffee and warm coats to the homeless. His mom said his compassion for others has been evident since he was a young boy.
Pete has rallied the community around his effort, has collected hundreds of coats for Chicago's homeless. But he doesn't just collect the coats; he actually drives his van or rents a truck to personally greet those who make the Chicago streets their home. He also gives them a cup of coffee, some tasty treats and other amenities as he delivers blankets, scarves, gloves, and special care packages he assembles that include everything from hand warmers to socks to candy bars.
Pete himself sorts coat sizes, rolls blankets, and inspects donations to ensure everything is fresh and clean. He believes the personal touch gives people on the street not only some relief from the winter weather but another, more important thing: hope.