On Saturday, March 31, 2018 HELPS Ministry (http://thehelpsministry.webs.com) had their annual Easter celebration in St Charles. Food For Friends provided the meal and volunteers. The caterer from Lee’n Eddies (https://www.leeneddies.com), Dan Veles (Thanks Dan!), delivered, arranged and helped serve the meal for the event.
The delicious family style meal, served to approximately 90 guests, consisted of lemon chicken, glazed ham, pasta, meatballs, mashed potatoes and veggies. There was a great mix of people of all ages. At one time, you could see a child of about 8 playfully break dancing on the gym floor as a young woman wearing a sparkly outfit danced to “Happy.”
People started arriving around 1:30 p.m. and some were still there talking at 6:30 p.m. The volunteers did a great job with setting up, decorating, dessert display, and interacting with the guests.
As the evening drew to a close, several homeless individuals, with their hands on their bellies, smiled and said they couldn’t eat anymore – they were stuffed! They were amazed at how good the food was. Great food equaled great conversation.
Overall, the event was beautiful and all the volunteers were great. This day and these smiles of those people that have less than us is a the reminder of why we do what we do and serve joyfully.
To see all the photos from this event, head on over to the Facebook album
Food For Friends will be hosting an Easter meal on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at HELPS Ministry 6N571 Tuscola Avenue in St. Charles, IL.We will be serving a meal to 75-100 women, men and children. The meal will be served at 2pm.
We will have two shifts however if you would like to participate for the entire day it would be very much appreciated. Shift 1 – (12:30-4pm) & Shift 2 (1:30-5:30)
Volunteers will assist to set up of tables, chairs, food serving areas, and clear the tables. If we have enough volunteers, we would like to have a host at each table. The idea is to create a family style dinner. In addition, we encourage volunteers to please sit and enjoy the meal with the guests, get to know them.
Note: On Saturday, March 17, 2018 Food For Friends partnered with “Together with Elgin Community Dinners” and Jeff Turner of Dream Foods to provide a St. Patrick’s community meal served at First United Methodist Church 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. 45 Food For Friends volunteers served. And….Thanks to the generousity of our donors, we were able to provide 400 pounds of Corned Beef for this event.
The following article was sent in via email by Theresa Kyriazes. The Food For Friends Board would like to thank Theresa for both volunteering and for sending us this amazing recap of her serving experience.
March 17, 2018
Hello, thank you for the opportunity to serve those less fortunate with FFF, at Elgin’s First United Methodist Church on St. Patrick’s Day. It was a humbling and loving opportunity for me.
I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people and hearing their stories. Like, the mom and dad and their 14-year-old son Larkin. Larkin’s parents beamed with pride, certain that one day Larkin was going to be “a computer tech guy!” Their love for their son spoke volumes!
Then there was a man named Doug. He lives on the streets, which was obvious by his rough sun baked skin, his blood shot eyes and his layered clothing…but his smile was powerful. Doug was shuttled around by his dad for many years…a few years ago, they returned to Elgin from California…Doug’s father passed “a couple of years ago” and Doug explained to me how grateful he was to this church on cold nights. He described how they section off the basement for the woman and children, and where he and the other men sleep. “It’s not every night, just the real cold ones.” “They wake us up at 6am and we go across the street for breakfast at the vineyard.”
Then there was Manny. A nice looking 28-year-old young man. He had a broken foot…. which only drew more attention to him, but God was tugging on my heart to talk to him. I knew his story before he even told it to me. His mom moved into the city, his dad lives in Elgin…but he doesn’t know him well. Currently he is living at his friend’s parents’ house. He was quiet and polite, only answering questions when I asked them. His education level hadn’t reached a GED yet. My heart ached for him, young and the potential to be stuck in a system.
Several times as I walked around meeting people, I just wanted to cry. Tears of gratitude because this is not my reality, by God’s grace. Tears because, so many people are dependent on the grace of others, and not realizing that it’s really the Grace of God. Tears that families with small baby’s and single moms like the very young mom of 4-month-old Rosalee; so full of hope for a good future, Her mom trying her best to do what she can to help her daughter. The struggle is real. Yet, through all this brokenness there was laughter and joy. Smiles and hugs. Conversations of real life and shared love, God’s love. All because of a simple meal. A meal donated with more than food, but with love. EVERYONE was very grateful for the meal. The consistent reply when I asked, “How’s the meal?” was… “Great! The food is good, but this Irish soda bread is delicious!” Some have never had Irish soda bread before….and asked if I knew how to make it? Which I confessed…I don’t.
Back to Manny, the 28-year-old. He stayed for a long time. He had several servings of food and coffee. I passed by him and saw Peter, (a volunteer, whose life mission is reaching the homeless and sharing the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ one meal at a time) I tried to listen in/lip read what they were saying…I couldn’t understand. That’s when I realized that Peter was speaking Spanish to Manny! Manny was engaged and attentive to what Peter was saying. This conversation went on for almost a half an hour. I sat with Peter’s wife and 2 kids at the desert table they were serving at, I explained to her how my heart broke for this boy. Luci, confidently assured me that God works through her husband. Luci shared with me that her and her husbands mission is….to “Go where God calls them and bring a meal and the Gospel to those hurting…” when suddenly, Luci’s husband Peter was standing there before us. Beaming with Joy and asking his wife for one of their cards…explaining that the Lord has another member in His fold, heaven boom!! Peter and Manny exchanged phone numbers, Peter asked Manny to join him and his family one day in serving others, like he was served……. Manny agreed. Boom! What else is more important?? Nothing!
Thank you to FFF for the part you played in God’s Kingdom work. Everyday, I am more and more convinced that it is NOT about me, but ONLY about Him and the plans He has for each of us to carry out for His purpose here on Earth.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve and meet so many wonderful people! My life has not been the same since I met this organization.
What: Elgin Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Elgin, IL
Where: First United Methodist Church 216 E. Highland Ave. Elgin, IL 60120
What we will do: We will serve up to 1500 meals
FFF Volunteers: We have all the volunteers we need. 50 volunteers have already signed up. We need no more volunteers. HOWEVER, you can come and get a free meal. This is a community meal so feel free to come, eat and spread the Food For Friends love with the Elgin community.
Where: West Cook YMCA Thanksgiving luncheon, Oak Park, IL
Where: West Cook YMCA, 255 Marion St., Oak Park, IL.
What we will do: We will serve up to 150 meals
FFF Volunteers: We have all the volunteers we need. We have 20 volunteers signed up already We need no more volunteers. HOWEVER, you can come and get a free meal. This is a community meal so feel free to come, eat and spread the Food For Friends love with the West Cook YMCA community.
Food For Friends would like to thank Dr. June Lee for submitting the following article. More photos from this serving event have been posted to this album on our Facebook page.
We had the privilege of serving at the 2017 Ewing Annex Hotel Christmas event hosted by Food For Friends on Saturday December 23. The serving team comprised of my family (my husband, our 2 children- Kaitlyn (19) and Noah (15), and I), Colleen, and Brian.
Food For Friends provided a wonderful Christmas meal for the 200 guests staying at the Annex Hotel. The guests enjoyed the ham, mac and cheese, potatoes, meatballs, and green beans. Many returned for seconds and thirds.
The Annex Hotel is a cubicle-style hotel in the city of Chicago that provides affordable housing for low income men. Many of the men can only afford to stay there a few days and opt instead to stay at the Pacific Garden Mission during the weekdays when the shelter is open. There were no vacancies that day as the weather was about 10 degrees outside.
Our Foods For Friends team felt blessed to be able to serve a warm meal to these men.
Food For Friends partnered with Jeff Turner and a host of other partners on Sunday, December 17 2017 to provide a holiday meal to those less fortunate in the Elgin Community. The dinner was held at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin,, IL from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec 18, 2017
Jeff Turner, owner of In The Neighborhood Deli and Catering in Elgin, has been hosting neighborhood dinners in Elgin for years, including the Community Thanksgiving Dinner and the Valentine’s Day Have a Heart dinner.
Traditional Christmas music provided a festive background as people trickled into line, ready to receive roasted pork loin, turkey tetrazzini, baked ham, stuffing, au gratin potatoes, broccoli Dijon, cranberries, salad and rolls.
Food For Friends volunteers helped out with three different shifts for the event: Setup and food prep from 8 to 10:30 a.m.; food service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and service and teardown from 1 to 3 p.m
Jeff Turner’s goal with these community dinners is to not only to serve the homeless, but also the elderly, empty nesters and people with large families who might not necessarily be able to feed everyone. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I have a real strong love of the community and my goal is to bring everybody together, from all walks of life, to share a meal and fellowship and have fun and volunteer.” He said any leftover food will be donated to shelters and soup kitchens.
Food For Friends would like to thank the following email we received from Dane Hiteman, who was a Food For Friends serving volunteer at this event.
The Elgin Community Christmas Dinner at the Hemmens Cultural Center was a delight to serve at. Although geared for higher volumes, I would suspect that we might have served between 250 – 350 meals. The space was brightly lit and had dining tables spaced out throughout. Each table had a white table cloth and was holiday decorated with candy canes, Hershey’s kisses, and peppermints. A definite favorite with the kids. Just outside of the kitchen there were two serving lines that were fully staffed with volunteers and runners to replenish each of the food items. Back in the kitchen more volunteers were busy keeping the oven and foil trays full for the guests. Back out on the floor, in the middle of the space, we had a large area designated for desserts (my specific serving station), lemonade, hot chocolate, water, and coffee.
I was grateful for being at the dessert station because we actually had an opportunity to walk around and talk to the first guests as they were eating. Many are from the community and found out about the meal through Facebook. All were thankful and showed their appreciation through smiles, handshakes, hugs, and kind words. Families of all sizes as well as groups of individuals came through. Towards the end of the event, to-go cartons were distributed to make sure many would have a second good meal later that day.
I really enjoyed my time and look forward to the opportunity to serve again. Thank you for helping light the path for both the volunteers and those in need.
Dane Hiteman Food For Friends volunteer
Food For Friends would also like to thank Dane Duval for taking a bunch of pictures at the event. We have loaded those pictures into an album on our Facebook page at 2017-Dec – Elgin Christmas Dinner.
Champion Logistics Group is honored to support Food for Friends and their continued efforts to help less fortunate families in Chicago. Our two organizations have partnered with the City of Northlake to provide Thanksgiving dinners to dozens of Northlake families.
Champion, with help from their generous employees, collected hundreds of food items over the month of November. These items include vegetables, fruits, turkey, desserts and more. On Saturday, November 18th, the Champion staff sorted the items and created 50 individual Blue Bags from the donated food. Food For Friends added a turkey to go along with each blue bag. A total of 50 turkeys and Blue Bags were then delivered by Food for Friends to needy families in the community.
Food for Friends is an organization that feels compelled to give back to a community that has given them so much. Through the donation of time, money and other resources, Food for Friends has given these people the gifts of hope, faith and love.
Champion is truly grateful to be part of such generosity.
About Champion Logistics Group
Champion Logistics Group is a full-service logistics provider comprised of three separate divisions; domestic transportation, International freight forwarding, and warehouse and fulfillment. Champion has been fortunate enough to assist various charitable organizations over the last three decades, including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Operation Gratitude, the Red Cross and many more.
The following article was submitted by Carol Boyd, who is President & Founder a unique organization called the “Humble Hearts Foundation”
When TURKEYS show up – I shout out !!!
Thank you to Food For Friends & Hyatt Regency O’Hare for blessing Humble Hearts with sponsoring turkeys to help me bless those in need.
75 homes were able to receive a Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, stuffing and corn to sit down and have a Happy Thanksgiving dinner with their family and friends.
I give thanks to God for with out him I would not be blessed nor able to do what I do As he sends me generous compassionate people to help me continue to be his foot soldier doing what I love doing … Helping People.
From my home to yours May it be filled with food, warmth, love and peace. May we pray for those with out , & not take any morsel for granted… Amen
Humble Hearts Foundation
Note: Thanks to Food For Friends volunteer Rich LeBron (Rich@thefranchiseconsultingcompany.com) who coordinated our serving volunteers and provided content for the following article:
Thanksgiving would not be the same if you were not able to share the experience with over 1000 fellow community members.
Every year various partners across the Elgin area and a bunch of community volunteers come together to offer a free Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone in the Elgin area. The event hopes to serve anyone in the community that may need a little help, food and love around this time of the year. This year, the Thanksgiving dinner was held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 23 in the basement of First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin.
The event is organized by Jeff Turner of In the Neighborhood Deli. Volunteers from throughout the community gather to cook and serve a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings to over 1000 of our neighbors.
Food For Friends was a significant partner for this event, donating over 1,000 pounds of turkey. The staff at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin cooked and carved the meat. Other partners included the Salvation Army of Elgin, In the Neighborhood Deli and the First United Methodist Church.
An event this big requires many serving volunteers. There were 40 volunteers from Food For Friends. There were also volunteer groups from local churches, high school girls sports teams. Volunteers at First United Methodist Church served the main dish along with plenty of trimmings and several dessert options.
This was truly a community event and is designed that way in an effort to bring everyone together. Kids were treated to a table filled with fun games, crafts and smiling faces. Both the guests and volunteers all commented how this was the highlight of their holiday and were filled with a thankful heart.
Jeff Turner the founder of the event announced his vision to eventually hold up to 12 events throughout the year to help meet the needs of those in the community. He already has community dinners around Christmas and Valentine’s Day and is looking to start up a summertime event, likely a cookout at a park in the June timeframe.
Looking for more pictures from this event? We have over 100 pictures from this Thanksgiving Dinner over on our Facebook album