Event Recap – April 20, 2019 Easter Dinner at Ewing Annex

A guest at the Ewing Annex Hotel smiles upon receiving a gift of food from our volunteers

On Saturday, April 20, 2019 Food For Friends partnered with Lee ‘n Eddies catering again to serve an Easter meal at the Ewing Annex Hotel in Chicago serving over 100 meals.

The volunteers for the day were Karen, Laura, Marty, Tony , Theresa and Dan.   Thank you to all that came out to serve at the Annex on this Easter weekend.

Special Thank you to our lead volunteer Theresa Kyriazes and Dan Herzog for the pictures.  For the photos from this event, see 2019Apr20 – Ewing Annex – Easter Dinner    THANK YOU!

The Annex Hotel provides affordable temporary housing for men in need. Many of the men stay at local shelters most of the time and stay at the Annex when they can afford to do so. The Annex, unlike the shelters, provides the men their own rooms so they can enjoy some privacy.  The hotel houses approximately 130 men in transition.

 

A note from the lead volunteers, Theresa Kyriazes.

Hope in a hopeless world is what keeps coming to mind when I think about Saturday’s Easter event.

As we climbed the crooked and worn steps of the Annex hotel, we arrived at a caged window. The man behind the window perked up and pranced around to the large door on our left. He opened it and invited us in. The room, all 20×30 of it had some chairs in the center, which were filled with about 10 gentlemen all watching television.

The gentleman who greeted us was joined by another, and the two of them set up and cleaned off some tables which were arranged for our serving. Since it was a beautiful morning, we waited outside to assist the caterer with the food when it arrived. There was a buzz in the air; an excitement and guests were asking how they could help.

The food arrived quickly! The setup was orchestrated flawlessly with Laura and Marty at the helm. Guests quickly lined up and received a plate and proceeded to receive, baked lemon chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, greens, meatballs, jello, bread and water bottles.  The plates were abundant as was the love and appreciation in the room. We continued to serve nonstop for just over 1 hour. Everyone was served and full.

With the remaining time, a quick bible trivia game began. It was spontaneous but who knew our #1 contestant would school us? After a further conversation, the gentlemen revealed he was once a Methodist minister. With the opportunity to greet and chat, a conversation with a young man named Michael. He had an amazing head of hair, thick and curly. He was from, Kansas, he has no family, and is only 26 years old. He’s a dishwasher at a restaurant downtown and he was extremely grateful for the free hot meal. Michael told us that he is very shy, but a few laughs were shared. Thanks again to Food for Friends for the opportunity to serve food, and the share in a heartfelt, real conversation. Michael stated, almost disappointingly, how he didn’t even realize it was Easter. I asked him when the last time was, he had been to church? He admitted that it had been a very long time, I gently suggested that this would be a great weekend to go! He shook his head in agreement.

It was great and I know we can’t wait to serve at the Annex again.

Thank you for the opportunity,

Theresa and Tony Kyriazes
Food For Friends Volunteer

 

A note from Dan Herzog, FFF President 

I had the opportunity to be a part of the Food For Friends Serving event at the Chicago Mens hotel, Ewing Annex Hotel on Clarke Street downtown.  Food & volunteers were great and the people we served so thankful and wonderful. The most touching part of the day for me was something a man said who has been there for several years.  He has prayed for previous Food For Friends meals, and been outspoken for Jesus in the past.  He said he used to be a Methodist minister and left the church because he didn’t agree with their policies. He found this hotel which has become his home now for several years, perhaps because of some poor life decisions he ended up being homeless.   I will never forget these words he quoted “you don’t know how close you can really get to God, until you have absolutely nothing but God”.

Dan Herzog
Founder, Food For Friends