A traumatic and turbulent background lead Carly Rice to Rockford.
"My story is that of child abuse, molestation, neglect, rape, prostitution, drug addiction, jails, institutions. All of those things." said Rice.
But if it wasn’t for that past, Carly says it wouldn’t have lead her to her future.
"Because I’m a survivor of so many traumas, I am able to relate to people, and have sympathy and empathy beyond that," she said.
Carly runs what she calls "micro interventions" out on the streets, and inside her home.
"We have pretty much an open door policy around here. We dine with prostitutes and thieves, and people who are obviously high on drugs sometimes." said Rice.
It’s a way for her to give back to the homeless community the best way she knows how.
"It’s direct involvement with people. Whether they’re under a bridge, or panhandling in front of an establishment. I just say ‘Hey, how you doing? Is there anything you need? And it’s as simple as that."
Because she’s lived it.
"I can go out there and I can say I understand. I’ve been there. I’ve slept under the overpass, I’ve smelt like pee. "
It’s a message she now passes on to her children.
"I like being nice to people and feeding them because they don’t have anything else to do," said Liliana Sanchez.
But it’s not just her children who are feeling the impact. Heather Gear was so inspired by what Carly is doing in Rockford, she started to do the same thing in Freeport too.
"I started helping Carly taking donations and things, and I had a lot people say ‘Well what about Freeport? We have a lot of that in Freeport also," Gear said.
Carly Rice, inspiring 815, one meal, shower or hug at a time.
"We don’t want them to survive, we want them to thrive."