December 8, 2002

The Chicago Transit Authority distributed 300 food baskets to local families throughout its service area today. CTA officials with the help of Santa and his elves, made the deliveries from the CTA's Holiday Food Train to representatives from several community organizations at the Logan Square and UIC-Halsted Stations.

Money donated by CTA employees and $3,000 from Mayor Richard M. Daley's 'sharing It? program was used to purchase the groceries that made up the food baskets which were assembled by CTA employees. Each food basket contains all the trimmings for a complete meal including: a five-pound canned ham, yams, muffin mix, macaroni and cheese, mixed vegetables, rice, sweet peas, apple sauce, fruit punch and cookies.

"We appreciate 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.

"Now in its 11th year, the Holiday Train is a great way for the CTA to spread some cheer and a way for us 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 use our service."

Decorated with 35,000 lights, the six-car train features a flat car in the middle that carries Santa and his reindeer. Car interiors are decked out with bows, garland, red and green lighting and hand poles wrapped to look like candy canes. The exterior is wrapped in a vinyl material depicting a holiday theme.

At the Logan Square Station, 26th Ward Alderman Billy Ocasio and 35th Ward Alderman Vilma Colom accepted the food baskets on behalf of Armitage Commons, Las Moradas, Lutheran Social Services, Oward House, Palmer Square, Plaza Taino, Puerto Rican Parade Committee, Smith Park Senior Building, Diversey Square Apartment Buildings, Sacramento Senior Building and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

At the UIC-Halsted Station, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis received food baskets for distribution to The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, St. Paul's Church, El Hogar del Nino, St. Ann's Church, Holy Cross and Bethel New Life.

On Saturday, November 23, the Holiday Food Train made deliveries to St. Jerome Catholic Church and St. Thadeus Catholic Church at the Howard and 95th Street Stations of the Red Line respectively. On Saturday, December 14, food will be presented to community organizations at the Central Station on the Lake Branch of the Green Line.

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