Friday, Nov. 26

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Illinois first family's Thanksgiving Day spent assisting less fortunate     Send a link to a friend

[NOV. 26, 2004]  CHICAGO -- On Thanksgiving Day, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his family visited families staying at the Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge in Chicago before traveling to Springfield to help serve dinner at the St. John's Breadline.

The governor's family distributed hundreds of winter clothing items, including coats, hats, gloves and mittens, to children staying at the Booth Lodge and to children visiting St. John's Breadline in Springfield. The winter clothing items were donated by employees of various state agencies.

The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth Lodge is a haven for families and individuals who are temporarily homeless because of eviction, disasters such as a fire or flood, loss of utilities, domestic violence, or other crises. The Booth Lodge provides shelter for up to 120 individuals each night.

During their visit, the governor read stories to the children, and the first lady donated 130 books as a continuation of her literacy campaign. Her effort began during the summer months when she partnered with First Book and HarperCollins to launch the First Book Summer Reading Initiative, which distributed 100,000 new books to children from low-income families.

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Families at the Booth Lodge enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner of turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy provided by Jewel Osco.

In Springfield, the governor and his family helped serve Thanksgiving dinner and greet visitors at St. John's Breadline, an outreach center serving the Springfield community. The center anticipated serving between 760 and 1,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the Illinois Department of Corrections donated a substantial part of the Thanksgiving meal, providing 40 turkeys, 40 pies and canisters of coffee.

[News release from the governor's office]

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