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Barack Obama Helps Chicago Food Bank Prepare for Thanksgiving

Barack Obama surprised volunteers at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a nonprofit that provides meals to more than 700 food pantries and shelters throughout Cook, County Illinois on Tuesday.

The former president wore a Chicago White Sox hat and arrived with staff from the Obama Foundation caring bags of donated food. The team worked alongside volunteers of the charity organization to bag potatoes for Thanksgiving meals.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Obama said to volunteers as in walked inside, according to CNN. “This is a spiffy-looking spot right here.”

The food depository uploaded a video to Twitter of the former commander-in-chief interacting with the workers on the prep line.

“You guys are doing such a great job helping out,” Obama told two young girls helping. One of them gasped and clasped her mouth in shock and excitement.

“We believe no one should go hungry, especially this time of year, and that’s why we’re working to address the root causes of hunger in Chicago and Cook County,” read the clip’s caption.

Obama shared a photograph from the event on Instagram describing the impact of young people volunteering.

“I am grateful for the next generation of leaders who are doing the work to create the world as it should be,” he wrote. ‘Our young people—tolerant, creative, idealistic—remind us that the best way to honor our communities is to serve them. They understand that hope requires action. From the Obama family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

The former president still lives in Washington, D.C. to allow his daughter, Sasha, to finish up high school. He was in Chicago for the Obama Foundation Summit, which took place in the Windy City on Monday.

At the summit, Obama said “mommy issues” and “racism” are stopping the U.S. from being more progressive, but he believes that people can still make change happen.

“We are fraught with stuff, and so if that is the case, then the single most important thing we have to invest in is … people,” Obama continued. “We have got to get people to figure out how they work together in a cooperative, thoughtful, constructive way.”

Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.