Michelle Obama Visits Chicago For Fundraiser, Anti-Obesity Campaign
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Updated 10/25/11 – 9:23 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — First Lady Michelle Obama was back home in Chicago on Tuesday, visiting an urban farm on the South Side and stopping at a remodeled Walgreens that now sells fresh fruit and vegetables.
As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, Mrs. Obama capped off her visit with a campaign fundraiser on the West Side.
Fundraiser tickets ranged from $100 just to get in to $10,000 for a personal photograph with the first lady.
Obama spent two hours with supporters at the fundraisers.
“It was absolutely amazing. It was fabulous to meet her, she was so kind,” said one supporter who had her photo taken with the first lady. “My grandmother was there. She’s 88 years old, she was so excited to meet the first lady. She hugged her as soon as she saw her. She asked my son about his broken arm.”
There was a different kind of photo op hours earlier – with a worm at the Iron Street Urban Farm, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced will supply fresh produce to 3 dozen new fresh food outlets as part of his campaign to eliminate food deserts in Chicago.
“Don’t underestimate the power of what is going on here, especially to the employees and people who live in the community. This is big stuff,” Obama said.
Photos were free at an event at a South Side Walgreens, where politicians and others jockeyed to get their shot with the local girl made good – now an international figure, but still a South Sider through and through.
Having seen markets come and grow when growing up on the South Side, Obama is now watching them return.
“I’m so glad that we’re doing this here, at home, in Chicago,” she said. “This is just – it’s a truly wonderful homecoming and it’s a good reason to be here.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
The Democratic National Committee said that taxpayers will foot the bill only for the official part of Mrs. Obama’s visit, and not the political part.
Emanuel was hosting several mayors from around the country on Tuesday to try to issue with so-called “food deserts” – areas of cities that lack easy access to fresh produce.
“This has been just a wonderful reason to come back home,” Obama said at the event at a Chatham neighborhood Walgreens, which recently added fresh food and vegetable sections.
“It’s great because it’s in walking distance from my home,” South Side resident Jill Mitchell said.
“It’s wonderful. Fresh fruit and vegetables are good for your health … it makes a big difference. A canned good is no good for you,” Ollie Banks added.
Walgreens has added several such stores to Chicago this year and plans at least 19 more.
The mayor also announced Tuesday that executives from the Sav-A-Lot, Mariano’s Fresh markets, Wal-Mart and Aldi’s chains have agreed to open 17 new stores in underserved communities across Chicago.
It’s been a priority for the mayor and fits right in to the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign to promote healthier living, especially in lower income communities like Chatham.
“These companies have really made a truly groundbreaking commitment and that’s, you know, why it was important for me to be standing here with these companies, with these mayors,” Obama said.
“We have gone a real distance, I think, in finally bringing the food desert issue. It no longer sits in the shadows,” Emanuel added.
The mayor also visited the Iron Street Urban Farm in the McKinley Park neighborhood with the first lady.
Emanuel also announced an agreement to sell produce from that urban farm to the new local markets selling fresh produce.