Pastor Corey Brooks at Tent City TODD THOMAS

Pastor Corey Brooks commemorated the one-year anniversary of the end of his now legendary 94-day rooftop campout by organizing a community tent city Thanksgiving weekend.

For three days Brooks, members of Project Hood and New Beginnings Church camped out in tents day and night on the gravel lot where the old motel once stood. The goal, as is the custom with Brooks, was to keep the spotlight on the continued crime in the community and raise funds for the community center they would like to build on the site.

The temperatures plummeted to below freezing as the campers and fundraisers hit the streets but Brooks and his fellow campers where undeterred by the elements.

“This is something that God has led me to do,” said Margaret Taylor, as she solicited donations from passersby. “I am a born again Christian and I’m here to support what God has anointed Pastor Brooks to do and that’s to develop the community and help raise a generation that has not discovered who they are.”

“I think the community center will help to spark that God-given gift that’s in each and every person and to add value to their life, and where there’s value there’s hope,” Taylor said.

After completing his cross-country walk Brooks said he thought about taking a rest, citing fatigue and media burnout, but being idle is not his nature so he decided to bring out his tent one more time.

“I wish I could take a longer break, but the enemy isn’t taking a break so I can’t take one right now – now is work time,” Brooks said.

“Jesus was about seeing needs and meeting needs,” Brooks added. “And that’s what the church is really supposed to be about and the greatest need in our community is to do something for the children. So that’s why we’re working so hard to get the funds for this community center.”

The community center will cost an estimated $15 million, and Project Hood is just scratching the surface as far as meeting that lofty financial goal. Brooks said that doesn’t deter him in the least, especially since he started receiving small donations from incarcerated men from around the country.

“They send in donations of three and five dollars and they write some of the most amazing and encouraging letter,” Brooks said of the inmates who learned of him from his first rooftop camp out. “And none of them have asked me for anything, they’re just encouraged and supportive of what we do – it’s just amazing.”

The tent city event didn’t draw as many participants as Brooks would have liked, and the blast of cold weather may have had something to do with the low turnout. But Brooks, being an eternal optimist plans to keep pressing on.

“I try to look at the positive and not the negative in a situation. I wish that things could be better and I tell myself that they are going to get better, and the only way we’re going to get better is if we make them better,” he said.

“We’re trying to do our piece on this block, then others will do their piece on their block, and all of us collectively can make a drastic change in the neighborhood.”

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