Mayoral hopefuls help city's needy on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2010 (CHICAGO)

One day after State Sen. Rev. James Meeks withdrew from the race, most of the remaining contenders used Christmas Eve to either rest or strategize in private.

Two of them, however, held public events that focused on poverty and needy people in the city they hope to lead.

Candidate Gery Chico and his wife Sunny began their day at a new Back of the Yards fresh foods store with owner Juan Perez.

"[Perez] is feeding at least 10 to 15 families today with full meals on this Christmas Eve," said Chico.

The Chicos helped make the deliveries to needy families who lived not far from where millionaire attorney and former school board president Chico was raised.

The candidate could not help but think about the responsibility he would have as mayor to change conditions in this and other struggling Chicago neighborhoods.

"My family remembers where they came from, and I think that's important, no matter what you do in life, you always gotta remember where you came from," said Chico. "It'll keep you grounded."

Congressman Danny Davis helped wrap gifts for needy Chicagoans Friday morning.

Later, Davis and members of a West Side church assembled before heading out to deliver food and gifts at nearby shelters.

"We have a large poverty population in the city of Chicago, and I don't think we do nearly enough to acknowledge it and deal with it, and lots of times, people don't even know it exists," said Davis.

The next mayor will lead a city where poverty has increased due to the recession. Both Davis and Chico said that until the economy recovers, city hall must shift its focus from downtown development to improving neighborhood economies.

"I maintain that every time we do a development downtown that we should match that development out in the outlying communities," said Davis.

"The next mayor has gotta be somebody that has a feel for what is going on in the lives of people in order to be able to help them and make our city better and make our city responsive to those conditions," said Chico.

There were no campaign schedules Friday for candidates Miguel del Valle or Carol Moseley Braun.

Braun said on Thursday that she will spend part of Christmas Day at La Rabida Children's Hospital.

Rahm Emanuel will spend the weekend with his family. His campaign spokesman did not say if that would be in Chicago, in Washington, or in some other place.

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