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
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.