The Obama family visited a Chicago south side Food Center at the St. Columbanus Catholic Church, where they handed out packets of food. Huffington Post ran the story on Thanksgiving Eve, complete with a slide show and a video. The Obamas wanted to show the children the “true meaning” of Thanksgiving.
Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News filed a “pool report” on the visit. (A “pool report” comes from a small group of media representatives covering the President-elect on “light” news days.) .
Here are excerpts from DeFrank’s pool report
. . . .The Obamas were at the church and adjoining school for about an hour. They emerged into a small parking lot between the church and school where the food distribution operation had been set up in a U-shape.
They were all bundled up against the brisk, sunny weather; Michelle and her daughters were wearing toboggan caps; the President-elect had on a brown leather car coat, muffler, chinos and was bareheaded.
The First Family-to-be were positioned at the start of the food line; their job was to hand out white plastic bags filled with fresh chicken. Recipients then moved down the line to receive bags of potatoes, apples, loaves of bread and large boxes of staples including macaroni and cheese, tomato sauce, peanut butter, canned corn, oatmeal, Miracle Whip, mixed fruit and other items.
Obama called out: “We’re ready, let’s go, bring ’em on in,” and the distribution began.
Clearly, those lining up for food hadn’t been told they had an important guest helping out. this day. Many of them lit up; some shrieked with delight and hugged one or more of the Obamas. . . . . . The daughters behaved like troopers for a half hour or so before the cold caught up with them, and they retired for a few minutes to warm up. . . .
. . .An Obama aide said the family has been to this particular food bank before and has pitched in here or elsewhere at least two other years.
After about 40 minutes on the line, Obama decided to go say hello to about 200 students. After shaking hands with the food bank volunteers, he came over to the pool and had this to say:
“The number of people who are getting food this year is up 33%. It gives a sense times are tough – and I think that on Thanksgiving it’s importat for us tpo remember there’s a need for support.
“These folks were already oftentimes having a tough time, and it gets tougher now.” He encouraged all Americans of means to help out however they could. “This is part of what Thanksgiving should be all about,” he said. . . . Daily Kos carried the entire pool report.