Mayor fire chief go shopping for pantry benefit 2009: Dressed Gear

Mayor fire chief go shopping for pantry benefit

Dressed in his full gear, Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mikel bent down to touch his toes a few times so he could stretch before

the sprint he was about to take. It was just after 8 a.m. inside Jewel-Osco, 127 E. Ogden Ave., and he was about to compete against Mayor George Pradel in a shopping spree through the grocery store's frozen food section. In a match-up between Naperville's Police and Fire departments, a representative from each had two and a half minutes to fill their carts with up to $500 in food for local charities. Asked if he had a strategy, Mikel joked: "I'm going to trip him. If I can't go fast, I'll go foul." Pradel, who wore his former police uniform, was competing for Loaves and Fishes food pantry. He began by tossing containers of Italian beef and pizzas into a cart, then making his way through the freezer aisles. Frozen foods continued to fly from the freezer into various waiting shopping carts, as Mikel began by selecting large boxes of lasagna and other family-sized food packages. Then he too made his way through the rest of the freezer section. "I can't believe how fast two and a half minutes went," said Mikel, who competed for Public Action to Deliver Shelter. DuPage PADS has experienced a 34 percent increase in the number of users compared to 2007, Executive Director Carol Simler said. Of that amount, 87 percent are families.

"With our volunteers and congregations, we're able to serve those so they are not out on the street," Simler said.

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