“With faith and God, everything is possible. Perspective is important.”
This is the mantra which 38-year-old Natasha Grady lives by and what motivates her to be unwavering in her commitment to feed the homeless in one of the roughest areas of Chicago.
Founder of the Love Grady Movement, Natasha is on a mission to provide 200 plates biweekly for the city’s most vulnerable community.
Ironically, Natasha was experiencing a dark moment in her life when the desire to feeding the homeless struck her.
“I used to go to church weekly and then I started to experience personal challenges and I felt like I was losing. Everyone was telling me that everything was going to be okay. I didn’t understand it. Although I hadn’t lost anyone, I’d lost communication with someone important to me and I wanted my norm back.
“Last summer, I stopped going to church and I stopped praying. I kept asking God, ‘Why me?’. I wasn’t used to feeling like this. When I used to go to church, if I felt heavy, as soon as I walked in the door, I would let it all go.”
But this time was different she says, and she decided that she no longer wanted to attend church or listen to anything affiliated with church. But she found watching television therapeutic.
“I was watching a movie that spoke to me –‘I Can Do Bad All By Myself’. I would cry. I would scream. I found myself praying and then would stop myself.
“I felt that I needed to live with more purpose in my life and one night as I was walking up the stairs to my room one day I said, ‘God, may Your will be done with my life’. Then I had an epiphany. I realised that my life was not bad. I was not losing like I felt I was. I have a choice when others do not. I decided that I was going to go to the grocery store, and I got excited because I knew what I was going to do with the things I was going to buy.”
Turns out it was food for her to cook in order to feed the homeless located on the West side of Chicago, better known as Tent City.
“I told my daughters that I wanted to feed the homeless. They, along with two friends joined me that first night. I made 60 plates. I stood in one place and everything was gone within 15 minutes,” she tells SheHub.
“I was amazed at how disciplined they were. We talked to a few of them afterwards. They wanted to know when we were coming back. Without thinking I said we would be back in two weeks.”
And as promised, she did. This time with 100 plates. She has not stopped feeding them since. While she purchases the items out of her pocket, she is thankful for the donations she has received from both strangers and friends which helps her to maintain her commitment.
Natasha, who is a graduate student pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Political Science from DePaul University, does not prepare basic staple foods for the men and women on the streets; instead she prepares foods which pay homage to her Dominican roots.
“I want them to not just have a meal, but to enjoy the food, she says.
Through her social media platforms, Natasha has heightened awareness surrounding Tent City to the citizens of Chicago. She has also received television media coverage to help her cause.
What many do not know is that she was a contributor towards paying for rooms at the Amber Inn in Chicago during Chicago’s recent polar vortex. During that time, she and friends also went door to door at the Amber Inn, feeding the needy to ensure that they did not solely have shelter, but food in their stomachs.
“We also transported the homeless from the streets of downtown Chicago to the hotel.”
Natasha says she is passionate about her mission says she plans to create a non-profit organisation. She says she will continue to be obedient to God: “I’ve always had a passion for helping others. This will not stop.”
If you would like to help Natasha feed the homeless in Chicago, you can do so by clicking on the following link https://www.paypal.me/LoveGrady or via the CASH APP: $theLoveGradyMovement