Chicago Auto Show attendees help the homeless

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In addition to checking out the latest cars, Chicago Auto Show attendees also helped a good cause on Wednesday. (WLS)

The 110th annual Chicago Auto Show hit its stride this Valentine's Day, halfway through the public show. Ryan Balquiedra, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, was showing the love by donating canned goods upon entry that will go to A Safe Haven, a Chicago non-profit helping the homeless. It was his way to think of others as he pondered a major purchase.

"I think combining something that gets people out and also getting the word out that they can contribute back to the community (is) a fantastic idea," he said upon entering and handing over cans of tomato paste and vegetables. "You knock out two birds with one stone."

Balquiedra's donation will take its place in the 12 tons of food "A Safe Haven" hopes to collect like last year in the giant boxes that greet visitors in the south hall and upstairs between the exhibition spaces at McCormick Place. Agency CEO Brian Rowland told reporters, "it's tremendously important to our inventory to be able to help distribute it to people that really need it, but it's also good for people to be aware of what we do in our mission -- and we really believe that everyone can help solve this problem -- we are in America."

That mission is nothing less than eradicating homelessness. Eliminating hunger is a fundamental step.

With last weekend's snow, show organizers are encouraging visitors to come down now throughout the week ahead of the crush expected next Saturday and Sunday. Those donating at least three cans of food will get $6 off an adult admission -- normally $13. And the homeless, according to Rowland, "can use more than food -- diapers toiletries baby needs. new pillows. I mean every homeless person wants a new pillow."

As he looked over all the shiny metal on display at #CAS18, Ryan Balquiedra thought about that. "I feel much better about it today. It's Valentine's Day, it's all about love right?"

The 2018 Chicago Auto Show runs through Sunday February 18. Buy your tickets online or at the show. And think about making a donation. You know how important your pillow is to you.

Click Here for ABC7's 2018 Chicago Auto Show Guide.

For more information, visit: www.chicagoautoshow.com.
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