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Open For Business: The Road To Incremental Grace

Meet the family that's changing the lives of the homeless

From an outside perspective, The Blackwell's look like any another family of 5. It's what they choose to do on their weekends, that makes them extraordinary.

"It's just really emotional seeing people in that kind of condition and seeing this is what people go through every day" said Brighton Blackwell, the youngest child in the Blackwell family. 

In their converted van, the Blackwell's go to areas most avoid in Central Illinois, searching for the homeless, ready to help.

 "A homeless person will lose everything they have about once every 30 to 90 days. So that will be every piece of clothing they have will either get wet or just soiled beyond use" said Elizabeth Blackwell, Brighton's mom and co-founder of The Incremental Road to Grace.
Elizabeth and her husband Ryan started the non-profit a couple of years ago. After seeing the impact they were making in people's lives, they knew they couldn't stop.

 "When you hand somebody a coat that has been just chilled to the bone, they will give you the warmest hug. the- I mean it is the most sincere reaction that you could ever get in humanity" said Elizabeth.

They scrub feet, feed and clothe them and administer first aid.

"Socks are one of the biggest things we give out continuously, we do a lot a lot of foot care. So we almost always carry anywhere from 35 to 50 of the bottles of foot powder and anti fungal cream and 200 pairs of socks and things like that" said Elizabeth.

Daughter Brighton is learning lessons that few of her peers will at this age. 

"As more as I started to get into it and started to help them, I started to realize wow I am really lucky to actually have a roof over my head."

The Blackwell's help around 200 people a week. What started as duo trips, expanded to include the whole family. Brighton loved seeing her parents in action.

"It made me really proud and for them to be this grateful for everything and teaching us how this all works, it made me actually very proud" said Brighton.

"It was we're just gonna do what we can do. You know small incremental improvements, incremental improvement in what we can take up, incremental improvements in the lives of the homeless we were trying to help" said Elizabeth.

If you would like to donate to the Blackwell's, you can contact them through their Facebook page.

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