Serving Up a Special Christmas at the Ewing Annex Hotel

This article was submitted by Ben Opsahl.

The Ewing Annex Hotel on Clark Street in Chicago is a low income hotel for men. Most of the residents are homeless men with little or no money, or jobs. Food For Friends has been serving at the Ewing Annex Hotel for a number of years and we always get a good reception when we serve.

On December 17, 2017, a small groupfff-1217-4 of Food For Friend volunteers came together to serve and spread some holiday cheer at the Ewing Annex Hotel. Our mission this day was to celebrate Christmas with 150 homeless men at this hotel. We provided them food, smiles and a reminder of what Christmas is all about.

By all accounts, this serving event at the Ewing Annex was one of our best yet as not only did we provide a great meal, we gave the men a special gift.

The men began assembling early as they now know that when there is a Food For Friends event, they are going to have a great meal. When the food arrived our volunteers went to work prepping the serving line. The men all came through the line and had their fill of Christmas ham, potatoes, green beans, meatballs, mac and cheese, bread, Jell-O and cookies. Thanks once again to our partner, Lee N Eddies catering, for providing the food for this event.

As the men had all sat down to eat, Ben Opsahl, the leader of this serving event for Food For Friends, delivered a special gift to the men of the Ewing Annex hotel: A BRAND NEW 50-INCH TV AND SOUND BAR.

Of course, the men were blown away!! You could just see their eyes light up with excitement, like they were little boys all over again. They were all extremely grateful for the gift and very excited to get it up and running. Their old, and much smaller TV, is a number of generations old.  It will now be used as a video game station (with video game hardware donated from the pawn shop next door).

The meal continued and our 6 volunteers served the food until it was completely gone. The men left the room with full stomachs, smiles on their faces and warmed hearts.  Our volunteers also left with a special feeling inside….the type of feeling you only get when you know you have made an impact on the lives of others.

As we close the book on the serving events for 2016 with this special event at The Ewing Annex Hotel we can observe that the connection between our volunteers and these men seem to grow every time we serve.   Many of them recognize our Food For Friends logo and are very happy to see us walk through the door. We’re excited to continue serving at the Ewing Annex Men’s Hotel in 2017 as we build stronger connections with the men that call the hotel their home.

See more photos from this event on our Facebook photo album at 2016Dec17 – Ewing Annex Hotel