Thanksgiving 2018: Barack Obama volunteers at Chicago food bank

Former President Barack Obama surprised a number of volunteers at the Greater Chicago Food Depository warehouse Tuesday when he came by to help out.

The Chicago Tribune reported Obama was in town for an Obama Foundation summit this week. He stopped by the food bank on his way to the airport, and cameras from the foundation were there to film the visit.

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One of the families volunteering there was the Steffens -- parents Kent and Kate and their children, Charlie, 12, Julia, 11, and Ben, 7. They told the newspaper they occasionally volunteer at the food bank.

“Everyone kind of stopped what they were doing, and their jaws dropped,” Charlie told the Tribune.

“He said, ‘Go back to work! I’ll come over and talk to each of you,’” Kent Steffen said. “Then he grabbed a bag and started putting potatoes in it.”

At one point, Obama checked with volunteers next to him to be sure he was packing the potatoes correctly, the Tribune reported.

“He said he wanted to stop by and promote the importance of service,” Charlie said.

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Obama, his security detail and the film crew stayed for about 25 to 30 minutes, according to the family. He also signed a wall of the warehouse and included the message, “Hope requires action!”

"Thank you to ⁦@BarackObama⁩ and ⁦@ObamaFoundation⁩ for joining our volunteers today at the Food Depository," the food bank tweeted after the visit. "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."

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