Friday, November 28, 2008


President Elect Barack Obama and his family distributed food Wednesday at St. Columbanus Catholic Parish in Chicago. They spent an hour working as volunteers for Catholic Charities, handing out chickens, potatoes, bread and other Thanksgiving food to families who otherwise would be in need.

Many of the poor and homeless -- some of whom come for food every Wednesday -- screamed in disbelief as they entered the parking lot of St. Columbanus Church at 71st and Calumet Drive and realized the reason they had been wanded by the U.S. Secret Service was because Obama, his wife and daughters, were standing there ready to pass out the food usually handed out by volunteers.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 , stood beside their father also handing out food in the 43-degree weather beneath the elaborate 99-year-old stained glass windows of St. Columbanus church. Obama wore a leather jacket while Michelle and the girls were bundled in winter coats and hats.

The President Elect said it was important to bring his daughters because, "I want them to know how fortunate they are and that they have to give back."

The pastor of the parish, Father Mark Eyerman expressed his appreciation of the President Elect for helping with the Thanksgiving program. But he was not the only one in the parish thankful for the Obamas.

As he finished handing out the chickens, the President Elect turned and looked up at the windows of St. Columbanus School where the pre-K through 8th graders were furiously waving and screaming from their second- and third-floor windows. The President Elect then shook hands with Catholic grade school students ecstatic to see him.

According to the Sun-Times, the President Elect said "Hey Michelle, look," he pointed as she waved back. "We've got to go in there and say 'hi' to those kids," much to the chagrin of the Secret Service, which frowns on spontaneity.

The Secret Service asked school officials to bring the school's 300 students down to the assembly hall. The enthusiasm of the Catholic school children was off the charts as Obama entered the room and attempted to shake hands with the children as young as five and pre-Kindergarten. Some grabbed onto his leather jacket sleeves and would not let go, trying to climb up in his arms.


Rustler45 said...

I guess this is news. We've never heard of a Muslim doing charity work before, let alone, bringing his whole family along!

Clairvaux said...

Very interesting. I've never seen Secret Service have to appear at a Catholic grade school before. I wonder if Obama ever visited this Catholic school before? And if not, why now?

Katherine said...

Yes, he has. And for several years he worked out of the rectory at nearby Holy Rosary Church.

The President Elect also has an honorary doctorate from Catholic Xavier University. He knows his way around Catholic schools.

Lydia said...

My daughter went to Catholic school in Chicago until she was 8 years old, in Lakeview. If the Pres-elect had come to her school, I would have been right there along with her :)

Kids are so cute about touching you and hanging on to someone they like. When I read books to underprivelaged kids in the RIF program, each child would hold onto a finger afterwards. Since I only had 10 of those, some would hug me and grab my clothes. It was was of the best things I ever did. The look in their eyes was a gift to ME. I know how much fun Pres-elect Obama must have had.

God bless our new President, and God save us until January.

Lydia said...

I don't know if my post went through but I posted earlier about how joyful it is to receive the love of little children. They reach for you any way they can (I had a child on all ten fingers when I read to them for RIF).

Obama is the kind of man a child would instinctively be drawn to. Children can are exellent judges of character, and our new President puts them at the top of his list in importance. You can tell allot about a person by the way they treat their family ;)

Anonymous said...

Actually, Katherine, I am a resident of Chicago and can tell you that St. Columbanus and Holy Rosary are NOT near each other at all. St. Columbanus is at 71st and Calumet and Holy Rosary is at 113th near State. Two entirely different areas/neighborhoods.

Katherine said...

Thanks for the insight on geography. Obviously, these distinctions are important to locals.