WEST PULLMAN — More than 200 people attended the second annual block party by the Black McDonald's Operators Association.
Serena Smith, 44, traveled from her home in south suburban Beecher, 41 miles from Chicago, to attend.
"This is my first time attending a McDonald's block party but it won't be my last," said Smith. "Normally Thursday nights are slow for me, but not this time."
Smith wasn't the only one who drove more than 40 minutes to attend the Thursday event at The Legacy in West Pullman.
Robert Davis, 57, said this was the second time he's traveled from Downstate Kankakee, 60 miles from Chicago, to attend the McDonald's event.
"I am not a fan of McDonald's food, but I love their parties," Davis said. "Last year when I came it was off the chain, and this year was no different."
Yolanda Travis, a McDonald's franchise owner with one restaurant in Bronzeville and another one in Hyde Park, said she already is looking forward to the association's next big event in November.
"Last year we provided a free community breakfast, but this year we decided to do a dinner for needy families," Travis said. "People need to understand that we [McDonald's] are more than a local business, but [we're also] also a community partner."
Far South Side residents said they were glad to see their neighborhood finally get some positive media coverage.
"All the media ever does is report the shootings on the Far South Side, never anything good," said Tracie Walls, 37, who has lived in Roseland for 28 years. "We need more community events like this one to show Chicago that the South Side is not all bad. There are some good things that happen on this side of town."
Serving the community is one of things the 14 members that make up the Black McDonald's Operators Association tries to do, said Derrick Taylor, president of the association.
"We are more than just a place to eat in your neighborhood. We are a family of business owners who care about the communities we serve, and this is one way we try to show our appreciation for the community's support," Smith said. "That is the message we want to send with our block parties."
The free event was highlighted by a 30-minute performance by the R&B group Jagged Edge.
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