Right before Thanksgiving, I read in the Chicago Sun Times by Mark Brown about Sister Therese DelGenio and her Southwest Chicago PADS shelter at 71st & Kedzie near Marquette Park. 15 years ago, Sister Therese started the shelter which has served over 1,600 guests with lunch and dinner over the past year. There are many programs at the shelter which benefit the community including a Life Improvement Program to teach life skills and offer group therapy. Over the years the guests have received meals, clean clothes, a lead on a job, housing or a position in a drug rehabilitation program.
All these programs made it important for me to add Southwest Chicago PADS as the location that I would personally deliver cheesecakes at part of the Eli’s Giving Tree. It was also very fitting as Southwest Chicago PADS was located at 71st & Kedzie; it was several miles north on Kedzie at the intersection with Ogden that my dad, Eli, opened his first restaurant in 1940. It was there that he opened his doors and heart to feed people who had no money, a tradition that we are very happy to continue to this day at Eli’s.
The south west corner of Ogden & Kedzie was where Eli’s Ogden Huddle opened in 1940. Several years ago, the building was demolished and is today a parking lot for the 10th District of the Chicago Police Department.
Only one landmark remains at the corner of Ogden & Kedzie. On the north west corner, the Douglas Park Auditorium built in 1910 was a center for Jewish life on the west side housing the the Workmen’s Circle, Jewish labor unions, and the Yiddish Theater. Today the building is the location of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith.