AUBURN GRESHAM — Rev. Michael Pfleger isn't waiting until Thanksgiving to give out free poultry.
On Saturday the community activist and pastor of St. Sabina Church on the South Side — along with a dozen volunteers — handed out 1,000 chickens to residents of Auburn Gresham.
“The need is greater than ever as people struggle to put food on their table,” said Pfleger, who handed out the chickens in front of the church at 1210 W. 78th Place, for the second year in a row.
Sheila Tate, 51, said the chickens came at a crucial time.
"I usually get a free turkey around Thanksgiving, but that's three weeks away, and I need some meat to eat now," said Tate, an unemployed grandmother of four. "I'm glad to see Mr. Pfleger is not waiting for Thanksgiving to start helping people like so many charities do."
Pfleger added that with the damage caused last week by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, everybody should be banding together to help one another.
“Let’s learn something about what is going on along the East Coast," he told a crowd of 200 people after all the chickens were handed out. “We have catastrophes all over this country of hunger, poverty and homelessness.
"If we learn from what is happening on the East Coast, if we learn to come together around this country, be Americans again and care for and take care of each other, there is enough to go around."
Pfleger said St. Sabina plans to give away turkeys during Thanksgiving week, which begins Nov. 18.
"And you can bet I'll be back for a turkey," Tate said.