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Audarshia Townsend Headshot

Celebs, Chefs Serve Kids Pre-Holiday Dinner

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Bears defensive tackle Israel Idonije serving an early Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday to some very excited kids. (Photos: Audarshia Townsend)

I wonder who was most excited about the pre-Thanksgiving dinner served Tuesday to the 150 resident kids at the Mercy Homes on the West Side:

The kids themselves... executives and the culinary team from Trump Chicago's Sixteen restaurant... or some very high-profile local celebs?!

We're gonna go with the celebs--who consisted of first season The Apprentice winner Bill Rancic, motivational speaker Chris Gardner (the movie, Pursuit of Happyness, was based on his life), Chicago Bears' tight end Greg Olson, running back Matt Forte and defensive tackle Israel Idonije--who eagerly jumped in to serve the kids as soon as they arrived.

Orchestrated by Sixteen Executive Chef Frank Brunacci, the second-annual feast was held in the brand-spanking new dining room of the Mercy Homes campus for boys. On the menu included traditional Thanksgiving dishes (turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing and cranberries), plus a new take on holiday dessert, a caramel-maple gingerbread cake with home-style vanilla ice cream.

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Sixteen Executive Chef Frank Brunacci whipping up a pre-Thanksgiving feast with his staff in the Mercy Homes' kitchen.

During the meal, the special guests issued a holiday service challenge, encouraging the youths to collectively complete 1,000 hours of community service by the end of the year. After such an amazing day for them, we're certain they'll get it done!

Happy Thanksgiving!