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work at a food bank on the day before Thanksgiving, saying they wanted to
show the girls the meaning of the holiday, especially when so many people
Ten-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha joined their parents to shake hands
and give holiday wishes to hundreds of people who had been lined up for
hours at the food bank on Chicago 's south side.
Sasha wore a pink stocking hat over her pigtails and Malia had on a purple
striped hat as the family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy in the
chilly outdoor courtyard. Those seeking food on Wednesday at St. Columbanus
also received boxes with potatoes, oranges, fresh bread, peanut butter,
canned goods, oatmeal, spaghetti and coffee.
The president-elect, dressed casually in a leather jacket, black scarf and
khaki pants, was in a jovial mood, calling out "happy thanksgiving" and
telling everyone "you can call me Barack."
He told reporters that he wants the girls "to learn the importance of how
fortunate they are, and to make sure they're giving back."
The soon-to-be first lady said the Obamas wanted to give their children "an
understanding of what giving and Thanksgiving is all about."
The Obama family's activities in the courtyard quickly drew the attention of
schoolchildren whose windows overlooked the courtyard. They put up a sign
against the glass that read: "We love our prez" and screamed when the
president-elect waved to them.
Obama then turned to his wife and suggested they go visit the kids. Secret
Service agents, looking surprised, disappeared inside the building to
accommodate his request.
Minutes later, hundreds of children were brought down to the school
auditorium, and Obama loped onstage as they screamed and cheered.
"I just wanted to come by and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving," he said.
He then asked the children what they would be eating for Thanksgiving