Chicago Auto Show 2019: Attendees give back with food, blood donations

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago Auto Show is a family affair with a tradition heading back 111 years. When you've got 1 million people coming over 10 days, you can do a lot of good with that.

Show attendees got $6 discounted admission for showing up with canned goods for A Safe Haven, a multifaceted social service agency catering to Chicago's homeless. Volunteer Daniel Santiago came to the show directly from his overnight shift at the Mars Candy factory to help out.

"We have had actually a couple of people who just gave cans for no reason haven't asked for any tickets or anything like that also people giving money $20 here $40 there," Santiago said.

That spirit of giving is everywhere at the Chicago Auto Show as its annual food drive kicked off in earnest on Wednesday. Ten tons of foods a year have been collected.

"We have 200 to 250 people a week that rely on our food pantry in Chicago so it goes along way," said Neli Vazquez Rowland, CEO of A Safe Haven.

Indeed show-goers seem extra motivated to give back as they take in all the gleaming vehicles and imagine making a big purchase. In the middle sits a blood donor clinic.

"You never know you might be the one on the other hand, accident, you never know it's good to help out it could be you one day," donor Tim Tatum said.

"We are very lucky to be able to work with the auto show provide us with this wonderful space and the opportunity to engage with all these auto show fans," said Katie Freeman, of Heartland Blood Centers.

The blood and food drives carry on through the show's last day, February 18.

"The auto show is a reflection of us as the car dealers and this is what we do in our communities we are really involved, not only with the residents of the community but also the organizations," said John Hennessy, chairman emeritus of the Chicago Auto Show.

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