Orange Friday in Detroit: chef helps people struggling with homelessness

This isn't a typical Black Friday story of people waiting in line outside stores for electronics or clothes. Instead, it is about a line waiting for meals from a chef helping people down on their luck, and need something a little more fulfilling.

On a cold, snowy Friday in Detroit, a hot meal goes a long way. At Team Wellness East — on the city’s east side — the wait is worth it.

FOX 2: "A chef is out here giving you food. How do you feel about that?"

"I feel good," said Justin.

FOX 2: "Makes you feel like somebody is caring about you?"

"Makes you feel special. God is good all the time," he said.

"Anytime we see somebody that we put a smile on their face because of the food, it’s like, ‘We did our job,'" said Chef Maxcel Hardy of 86 Hunger.

Hardy has several titles, most notably entrepreneur and award-winning chef. On Friday, he’s fighting hunger.

"Anytime you can give back to the community, and the give back, it is always rewarding," Hardy said. "But to do it on a day that everybody is out shopping for Black Friday. We call it 'Orange Friday' because orange is the color of hunger."

Hardy started this cause five years ago in New York. Over a plate of catfish and cheddar grits, FOX 2 had several homeless open up to us about their situation.

"I’m just trying to get the help me and my mom needed, so we don’t have to be on the streets (anymore), period," said Bradley Paul Beasley

"During this pandemic, I have seen how so many people, including myself feeling left out - figuring nobody helped," said Katherine Brown.

FOX 2: "I can see this is a big relief for you. being here?"

"This right here has shown me that I have a right. I have a right to live, " said Brown.

According to the Homeless Action Network in Detroit, overall homelessness in the city is down 22 percent. It is an encouraging sign of hope for people living with hopelessness.