Coffee Shop Owner Brings Winter Coats, Coffee, And More To The Needy

Pilot Pete’s coffee shop is more than just a place you stop for a quick cup of Joe in Elmhurst, Illinois. According to Good News Network, it’s an establishment that has consistently given back to its community and those most vulnerable in it, with owner Peter Thomas being the driving force behind it all. 

Pilot Pete’s Coffee & Treats via Good News Network

For the last seven years, Thomas and his team of volunteers have been collecting coats and other essentials for the unhoused population in the area, with his ‘Coffee With A Purpose’ initiative growing bigger each and every year. 

Thomas says the idea came to him when he was brainstorming of collaborative ways to give back to the community. He and other volunteers were unprepared and surprised as they took in 3,000 coats during their first drive. 

This year’s donations were so large, it demanded the use of a 26-foot truck and six donation locations in the greater Chicago area. Inside the truck? 6,000 coats and other essential products needed to brace the harsh Midwest winter weather. 

Also completely necessary for the initiative? Brewing and supplying 40 gallons of that good, good coffee. 

At each stop, people are encouraged to shop for whatever they need, free of charge. Not only are coats provided, folks are able to select from a variety of blankets, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, and personal hygiene items. Thomas claims that with the onset of COVID, the donations were needed more than ever. 

“[When] we made this effort, all the shelters were on lockdown. No one was allowed in or out, that is, once you’re out, you can’t get back in, so there are more and more homeless people… This is a good year to be extra giving.”

Peter Thomas

This year, Thomas has received the partnership of other local business owners, all chipping in into the cause. The truck and driver was provided by Good Move Movers, and custom truck signage was created by Angel Fancy Design Studio. Baked goods were handed out by Rough Edges Confectionery.

It is worth noting that the generous business is located within a train station. Sadly, the future of Pilot Pete’s Coffee & Treats is unknown, as plans for a new Elmhurst Metra station are in the works. The community he has been supporting for years is now backing for Thomas and his business.

“Pilot Pete’s is more than a coffee shop. Peter Thomas gives back to our community in so many ways—from the annual coat drive for the homeless, school fundraisers, motivational quotes tucked into every cup sleeve, and more—his is the shining face every commuter needs to see. His ‘coffee with a purpose’ mentality is part of what makes Elmhurst a beautiful place.” 


To sign the petition and support Pilot Pete’s, click HERE.


Written by Abigale Racine