Event Recap: “Have a Heart” Elgin Community Dinner – February 9, 2019

Editors Note:   On February 9, 2019 Food For Friends partnered with Together We’re Elgin on another community dinner for the Elgin community. This was the 9th Annual Have a Heart community dinner. Below you will find two recap notes, one from Theresa Kyriazes and one from Jeff Turner.   For pictures from this event, please the Facebook album at https://www.facebook.com/pg/FoodForFriendsChicago/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1958738777558292

The first recap, below, is from Theresa Kyriazes, the lead FFF volunteer for this event.  Thank you to Theresa for this recap.   

The “Have a Heart Event” was a well-attended event. Many came to volunteer and serve. Provided for the event was chicken, pasta, salad and bread. There were about a dozen stations, each with a contestant who created a pasta sauce to sample to the guests.

There was a large assortment to choose from. Some of the sauces were made by local restaurants, the Elgin Fire Department, The Elgin Police Department and some were homemade by residents. And of course, the amazing dessert table with every type of cupcake, cookie, cake and pie to satisfy a sweet tooth! Guests came and enjoyed the food and voted for their favorite sauce.  The winners were:

1st place was given to a Resident “Big Frank”
2nd place went to a catering company
3rd place went to the Elgin Fire Department

It was fantastic to see the Royal Blue Tee-shirts of the Food for Friends volunteers spread out along the serving tables, ready with a smile and helping hand.

I had an opportunity to talk with two women who came through the line. One woman Amber, was clean from Methamphetamine for 78 days. The other, Michelle, was clean from Heroin for a year and crack for 7 days. Both, understandably joyful for the clean-time they have woven together, and very grateful for the warm space, good food and safe surroundings.

As I spoke with Amber, I was reminded of how broken and hurt our world is. I felt a sense of gratitude to Food for Friends, as well as, Dane from the Salvation Army and Jeff from the First United Methodist church who afforded me and the other FFF volunteers, the opportunity to share God’s love with His broken world, over a meal.

Amber and Michelle have a long road ahead of them and I will continue to pray for their transformation.

Thanks for the opportunity! It was a great event that my husband and son also got to enjoy!

Theresa Kyriazes
Lead FFF Volunteer


Editors Note:   The second recap was sent in by Jeff Turner, co-founder of Dream Foods. and driving force behind the series of Together We’re Elgin community dinners throughout the year. 

February 9, 2019.  What a day.  Another successful and powerful day.

This was our 9th Annual Have a Heart dinner and our 5th with a pasta “Gravy” cook off theme.  This is a very special dinner in that my partner in the Community Dinners envisioned this themed event.  Anthony Pedote has been a friend, supporter, worker, chief cook and bottle washer for all of the Community Dinners.  He passed away 2 years ago and this dinner is and will always be dedicated to his memory.

Over the years, Together We’re Elgin, Community Dinners has evolved from dinners for the less fortunate to dinners for all.  This was no exception.  It is so powerful to be in a room with people from all walks of life sharing a meal and fellowship.  It is truly God’s work.
This year we served 400 meals at the dinner itself.  At the conclusion of the dinner, we took food to feed 250 more people in need off site.
This, and all of the dinners would not be possible without the help of our generous partners and volunteers.  I want to send a big thank you to all of those involved.
Now we gear up for our 2nd annual “I-Rish You Were Here” Community Dinner.  It will feature traditional Corned beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes and carrots.  Last year was very successful last year and we look forward to growing even more this year.
Thank you to Food for Friends for all of your continued support.  Without you these dinners would not be possible here in Elgin.
With sincerest gratitude,
Jeff Turner