November 25, 2001

The Chicago Transit Authority distributed food to needy families throughout its service area today. Santa, with help from his elves, made the deliveries from the CTA's Holiday Food Train to representatives from several community organizations.

The Holiday Food Train is in its tenth year and made two stops along the Blue Line at the Logan Square and UIC-Halsted stations.

Each food basket contains all the trimmings for a complete meal including: a 5-pound canned ham, yams, muffin mix, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables, rice, sweet peas, apple sauce, fruit punch and cookies.

Money donated by CTA employees was used to purchase the groceries that made up the food baskets.

?The Holiday Train is a great way for the CTA to spread some cheer and it is also a way for the CTA to give back to the communities we serve," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?In addition to being entertaining, it is also a wonderful opportunity for the CTA to thank the customers who depend on our service."

?We are grateful for the generosity, dedication and enthusiasm of all the CTA employees who make the Holiday Train a reality each year. It truly demonstrates the spirit of the season is alive and well at the CTA," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett.

The six-car train is decorated with 35,000 lights. Interiors of the cars are decked out with bows, garland, red and green lighting and the hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes. The train also features a flat car that carries Santa and his reindeer as well as other decorations. The exterior of the train is wrapped in a vinyl material depicting a holiday theme of ?Peace on Earth."

The train is the handiwork of CTA Rail Operations employees who work at the Skokie Shops facility. About 175 employees work or volunteer on some aspect of the train from the initial planning to decorating and staffing various Holiday Train events. Due to the train's increasing popularity over the past ten years, it now takes three to four weeks to assemble, wire and decorate the train.

During its food delivery run, the train was not in regular service. This event was not open to the public. The Holiday Food Train made its first stop at Logan Square. Its second stop was made at UIC-Halsted. Upon leaving UIC-Halsted at 5:00 p.m., the train returned to regular service making all stops to Rosemont.

The schedule for the CTA's Holiday Food Train today was as follows:

3:47 p.m Train arrived at Logan Square, Milwaukee & Kedzie

Food presented to:26th Ward Alderman Billy Ocasio

35th Ward Alderman Vilma Colom

Lyndale House Senior Home

Common Terrace Senior Home

Plaza Taino Senior Home

The Sacramento Senior Building

The Armitage Senior Building

4:52 p.m. Train arrived at UIC-Halsted, 430 South Halsted

Food presented to:

25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis

The Chinese Consolidation of the Convalescence Association, (Cermak-Red Line)

St. Paul's Church

El Hogar del Nino

St. Ann's Church

Holy Cross

Bethel New Life, (Garfield Conservatory-Green Line)

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