S. Side Church offers food on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2011 10:14:44 PM PST
Bishop Paul Hall says his mission is to make sure everyone in his community has a turkey dinner on Christmas Day.

This year, the line started forming at 4a.m.

Hall has been feeding the needy on Chicago's South Side for 40 years.

This year: A truckload of food and gifts.

"We have 1,040 toys; we have 37 moving boxes of gently-used clothing; we have 260 23.5 pound turkeys, 240 hams," said volunteer Tammy Madajewski.

Even more: All for this long line of hungry and needy people.

"Brother Paul Hall - he's doing a good thing for the neighborhood and community, and we appreciate it and a lot of us need it," said George Lockett, who waited in line Saturday.

This Christmas Eve would be a lot different for many of the people who lined up outside the church Saturday were it not for the Christ Universal Church and Hall's mission.

Rhonda Cook said that without Hall, she "wouldn't have" had a holiday meal.

Hall started this tradition 40 years ago, but this year was one of the toughest.

"Donations are down because people are hurting," said Hall.

Last year, he helped feed 2,000 people. This year, the number is less, but the need it still great.

"Santa Claus does not come to the 'hood, and we want to take that sigma out of the inner city and the South Side of Chicago and we need help," said Hall.

He spent thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to buy these meals so fewer families would be without, this holiday season. It took dozens of volunteers to bring in box after box.

The meal includes turkey, ham, carrots, potatoes, and much more. The commitment to this community is strong, and for Hall, it's personal.

"For 40 years, I have done this, I have fasted, prayed, for 24 days, I will not eat a meal until Christmas Day that I make sure that every child in the City of Chicago have a meal along with their family on their table," said Hall.

The bishop and his volunteers feed needy families several times a year and could use all the help they can get.

Donations can be sent to:
Christ Universal Church
The Paul J. Hall Community Family and Fitness Center
10140 South Halsted Street
Chicago, Illinois

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