2018 Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday Serving Events

Hello Friends, 

We are less than six weeks away from the start of our biggest serving events, 2018 Thanksgiving & Christmas Serving.  This is our opportunity to ‘Pay It Forward’, Get Connected and Give Hope to those in need.  Here is your chance to CHANGE THINGS with your KINDNESS and INSPIRE CHANGE in others who see the good your doing.  Don’t miss out on the JOY serving others provides for you, and the people we serve.  

Our Upcoming Events

  • November 21, 2018 /Pacific Garden Mission Thanksgiving Dinner.   UPDATE:   Please note, we have already filled ALL of our volunteer slots for this event!! We invite you to look at our other wonderful serving opportunities.
  • November 22, 2018/ Elgin Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Elgin, IL
  • November 22, 2018/H.E.L.P.S. Thanksgiving Dinner, St. Charles, IL
  • November 22, 2018/Ewing Annex Hotel Thanksgiving Luncheon, Chicago, IL
  • November 22, 2018/ West Cook YMCA Thanksgiving luncheon, Oak Park, IL    UPDATE:   Please note, we have already filled ALL of our volunteer slots for this event!! We invite you to look at our other wonderful serving opportunities.
  • December 15, 2018/San Miguel Christmas Luncheon, Chicago, IL

How to Volunteer:  Please respond via email, food_for_friends@hotmail.com, or use the sign-up genius link below to register.  We hope you will be able to join us for one of these wonderful serving opportunities. If you can only make it for part of the event, that is fine, just let us know what times you are available so we can plan.


If you cannot serve but would like to make a monetary donation, checks can be mailed to FOOD FOR FRIENDS, PO BOX 2423, Palatine Illinois 60078, or visit our website, www.foodforfriends.org and click on the “Donate” button!

It’s a very rewarding experience you and your family or friends will not want to miss!  

Please help us Pay It Forward – Get Connected and Give Hope!

Thank you,


Note:  Food For Friends is an official 501(c)(3) Christian organization providing hands-on opportunities to feed the poor who are hungry in the Chicagoland area.

Sept. 22, 2018 – Serving Event Recap – Ewing Annext Hotel

Note:  On Saturday, September 22, 2018, Food For Friends once again partnered with Lee ‘n Eddies Catering to provide and serve a meal to the men staying at the Annex Hotel. The following article was sent in via email by Noah Lee. The Food For Friends Board would like to thank Noah for the great article and all the photos. We would also like to thank all the volunteers who served that day. To see all the photos from this event, go to our Facebook album for this event.

On Saturday, September 22 lunch was provided to about 100 men at Ewing Annex Hotel in Chicago, IL.

We had 6 volunteers representing FFF at this event: myself, my dad John, Helen Cossio, her daughter Gabby, Ed Currie, and Krista Kaplan.

Food For Friends volunteers staff the serving line at the Ewing Annex Hotel on September 22, 2018

We had a great time serving lunch to the men at the Annex Hotel, which consisted of fried chicken, mac and cheese, roasted potatoes, almond green beans, pasta, and hawaiian meatballs.  The fried chicken was a big hit and the men all had a nice time. 

The Ewing 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 most  shelters, gives the men their own room so they can enjoy some privacy. 

As usual, the men were very grateful for their meal and gracious to the FFF volunteers.  We have gotten to know some of the patrons at the Annex from our previous serving events and enjoyed seeing them and sharing some time with them.

Special Thanks to Food For Friends and cater, Lee’n Eddies!  

We look forward to serving again at the Annex Hotel in December.


Noah Lee

Food For Friends volunteer

Sept. 11, 2018 – 15th Annual Golf Outing Recap

Our 15th Annual Golf Outing fundraiser was once again a success!!!

We kicked off the event with our new theme slogan for the upcoming serving events:  Pay It Forward, Get Connected, Give Hope.

Dan Herzog addresses the golfers before the 15th annual golf fundraising event


We had 112 golfers that were blessed with beautiful day.  There was friendly competition on the course and lots of networking going on during the reception and dinner.

Golfers register prior to the start of the 15th Annual Food For Friends Golf Outing

A big THANK YOU!! is in order.  The fundraiser (our only one of the year) helped us raise just under $30,000 to help those in need right here in Chicago.  

We wish to thank all the generous sponsors, golfers and hard-working volunteers who gave their entire day for this cause. You truly did “Pay It Forward”!!

Some other organizations and individuals we would like to thank!

  • Bartlett Fire Department & VFW Post #11018
  • Jennifer Vanslow – National Anthem singer
  • Bartlett Hills Golf Course staff
  • Angelo Valdes – H.E.L.P.S Ministry
  • Pam Orr – Fellowship Housing
  • Barb Gaona  – Volunteer
  • Fellowship Housing and Pacific Garden Mission Speakers
  • Food For Friends golf committee:  Dan Herzog, John Opsahl, Ken Rasbid, Joan Richards, Martin Cervantes, and Christina Chacon.

If you are on Facebook, check out our photo album from the event at 11Sept2018 – Annual Golf Outing

We have already picked out a date for next year, so SAVE THE DATE: 16th Annual Food For Friends Golf Outing – Tuesday, September 17, 2019.  As we look to next year, we need to find a few more volunteers for our golf committee.  It does not take much time and we all have fun preparing and organizing the event.   Anyone interested in volunteering next year please email golf@foodforfriends.org

And remember… Pay It Forward, Get Connected, Give Hope.

Food For Friends Partners with City of Elgin in Kids Back to School BBQ Bash

On August 18, 2018 Food For Friends participated in a very large serving event in Elgin called Back to School BBQ Bash.

On August 18, 2018 from 12 to 5 pm, Food For Friends participate in a very large serving event in Elgin called Back to School BBQ Bash.  This event, which organizers hope to turn into an annual event, was sponsored by several partners. 

Food For Friends provided 12 volunteers and teamed up with Jeff Turner and Dream Foods, City of Elgin to serve Hot Dogs, chips and cookies to over 2000 people. More on our serving experience below.

It was a very warm humid typical August day and people from all backgrounds came to the Elgin Wing Park Pavilion for the event. There was face painting and balloon man entertainment for the kids. 

One draw for all the school children as a back pack give away.  More than 600 backpacks filled with school supplies were handed out courtesy of donations from House of Restoration, Aaron Cobb, state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, and Wells Fargo Bank.  Students came in droves for hours to get these backpacks

The excitement was all day long, with several groups providing entertainment at the band shell in front of the food truck.  The singers and dancers were of all ages including children from church groups singing, and different cultural groups singing and/or dancing for the crowds.  The list of groups performing included the Omega Funk Brotherz, Blue Tulip Wranglers, Covington Groove, Ballet Folklorico, Integrity Dance Studio, Elgin Children’s Theatre, Second Baptist Church’s Precious Praise and New Life Covenant Church Praise and Worship

For our part, Food For Friends donated 2500 Vienna hot dogs and Gonnella Baking donated the buns for the hot dogs.  The food line was amazin and continuous from over 3.5 hours at one point from 12 noon until 330 pm before slowing down.  There were a few other food vendors, including a group frying a small amount of fish filets..   All participants seemed to fully enjoy and stayed to eat and enjoy the last of the warm summer days before heading back to school next week.   Left overs went to Local food pantries and service organizations.   

To see all the pictures from this event, head over to Facebook and have a look at them at https://www.facebook.com/pg/FoodForFriendsChicago/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1750810488351123

July 14, 2018 – Mobile Food Pantry Recap – The Chapel of Lake Zurich

Note:  On July 14, 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry event at The Chapel Church, Lake Zurich, partnering with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. We sponsor these Food Pantry events a number of times throughout the year.  Thanks to Food For Friends Board Member Ken Rasbid for sending in the article below and you can see all the photos from the event on our Facebook Page via the photo album titled 2018-Jul 14 Chapel Church of Lake Zurich.

On July 14, 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry serving event with the Chapel Church of Lake Zurich, IL.
Through the both financial and volunteer support of Food For Friends, there were 149 families that received a week’s worth of much-needed groceries on July 14 at The Chapel Lake Zurich.


While rain clouds threatened to dampen the day, it became clear during the team huddle before the event began that this would be a special day.  Comprised of some first-time and many long-time volunteers, our support group that quickly came together and worked like team that had served together for years as they mobilized around final setup items to prepare for food distribution.


As our guests arrived, they were invited into the lobby with a warm welcome where they registered for the morning.  While they enjoyed a light breakfast of fresh fruit, baked goods, juice and coffee, our amazing volunteers took advantage of the time to connect relationally and provide encouragement, until their number was called to shop for groceries.


Other volunteers assisted in the experience, where they pushed the shopping cart and walked with our guests around the truck to select food that best met the nutriional requirements of their respective families.
149 families received a week’s worth of much-needed groceries on July 14 at The Chapel Lake Zurich.
Through our support of these Mobile Food Pantries, Food For Friends helps families take the money they would have spent on groceries and use it to pay other bills, like clothing, housing costs or utilities.  Volunteers left that day knowing they had helped to make a huge impact on the lives of others by providing hope to many in desperate need of a light at the end of the tunnel.


Food For Friends is thankful for the support and partnership with The Chapel of Lake Zurich and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.  Combined we make for a great team and it is a tremendous honor to be in community with organizations who are focused on making a compelling difference in so many lives!


Note:  You can see all the photos from the event on our Facebook Page via the photo album titled 2018-Jul 14 Chapel Church of Lake Zurich.

July 13, 2018 Serving Event Recap – San Miguel Graduation Luncheon

Note:  San Miguel School serves students who are academically at-risk and whose families are economically disadvantaged. San Miguel relies almost entirely on community support and donations to operate   On July 13, 2018 Food For Friends Volunteers served a dinner for graduating students.  Over 250 guests atteded the dinner at the San Miguel school in Chicago. The following is a recap of the event sent in by Christina Chacon, Food For Friends Board Member.  To see all the pictures from our event, see our photo album  2018-14July – San Miguel School Graduation Dinner   (on Facebook).

A very hot and humid Friday afternoon, 10+ volunteers arrived at San Miguel eager to serve a meal to the 8thgrade graduates and their families. The parents of the graduates beautifully set up the gym.  Music played, a couple of fans were blowing and the lights were off to keep the room cool until the guest arrived.

On July 13, 2018 Food For Friends Volunteers served a Graduation dinner to over 250 guests at the San Miguel school in Chicago

Sam from Lee ‘n Eddies delivered the hot meal, unloaded, set up the serving areas and made certain everything was ready for the volunteers to serve the meal.  He was very professional and attentive to the serving areas.  The volunteers were stationed and given instructions.

As the guest started to walk into the room, the volunteers were eager to begin the serve.  We patiently waited for the room to fill and the blessing of the meal to begin the serve.

Approximately 250 guests were served a hot delicious meal catered by Lee ‘n Eddies. The meal consisted of baked lemon chicken, pasta, vegetables, salad, jello, and cake.  The families were very appreciative of the meal, throughout the event, many of the volunteers were thanked by the guests.

After everyone was full and happy, the graduates were asked to dance with a parent.  The volunteers took this time to enjoy the ambiance.   The event was a success.

A special Thank you to the wonderful volunteers that gave up their Friday evening to give back to this special community.

June 30, 2018 Serving Event Recap – Life Bridge Community Church

Note:  On June 30 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry serving event with the Life Bridge Community Church in Wauconda, IL. The following is a recap of the event sent in by Ken Rasbid, Food For Friends Board Member.  To see all the pictures from our event, see our photo album  2018-30June – Life Bridge Community Church   (on Facebook).

On June 30 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry serving event with the Life Bridge Community Church in Wauconda, IL

On Saturday, June 30th, Food For Friends partnered with Life Bridge Community Church and the Stahl Family Foundation to sponsor and mentor their first-ever mobile food pantry.

By the end of the event, approximately 140 families were provided with over a week’s worth of groceries.  In addition, they were all invited into the church for a light snack and beverages.

Close to 50 volunteers served with energy and a loving heart through out the morning despite extreme temperature & humidity as the heat index surpassed 105 degrees.  Through it all, the volunteers spread love, cheer and many smiles.

There was a tangible feeling of care and authenticity through out the whole event.  It became immediately clear that Life Bridge is represented by a group people who have a love for Jesus and want to connect with their neighbors and help in a meaningful way.  I was very moved to see volunteers authentically engaged in conversation to understand someone’s story, then continue to pray over them to offer hope and encouragement.  They truly reflected the Food For Friends vision of feeding people’s souls at the same time as feeding their stomachs.
It was such a positive and successful experience for the community that the leaders at Life Bridge have signed-on with additional Mobile Food Pantries, targeting their next date some time in August.  This is especially welcome news as Wauconda has very dense areas of poverty and has been labeled as a food-desert by the Northern Illinois Food Bank.  Food For Friends is grateful for this quickly advancing partnership and we look forward to sponsoring these efforts going forward.  Stay tuned for more information on future events… we look forward to having you join us next time!
Ken Rasbid
Food For Friends Board Member

June 23, 2018 Serving Event Recap – Ewing Annex Hotel

Note:  On June 23 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a serving event at The Ewing Annex Hotel in Chicago. We sponsor a number of serving events each year at the Annex Hotel .   For the past few years, Lee ‘n Eddies catering has partnered with FFF by covering half of the cost of these meals.  We are grateful to Lee ‘n Eddies for this partnership.

Below please find a fantastic recap from Dane Hiteman, who coordinated this serving event for Food For Friends.  The board of directors of Food For Friends wish to thank Dane and the volunteer serving team for making the time to serve those in need,… Chicago men who have fallen on hard times, those forgotten or cast out.   For more pictures from the event, see our Facebook album

On June 23, 2018 Food For Friends service meals to Chicago area men in need at the Ewing Annex Hotel

On Saturday, June 23rd, the Food For Friends crew arrived at the Annex Hotel, an inn that provides reasonably priced shelter for working men. The hotel has the ability to host between 150 and 200 guests an evening. The corridor-style building consists of rows of individual rooms, approximately 8 feet by 5 feet. Each room has a small cot and lockable door. In an article by The Columbia Enquirer, the owner Randy Cohen was quoted as saying, “A lot of the people up there are poor and they really appreciate the services we can provide them,” Cohen said. “And other people up there are lonely. Some people have been there for years. It’s a community and for some people, it’s a better life than living alone.”

Manager Mike comes through the serving line

Up a steep flight of stairs, past a steel security door and a fenced hotel front desk, is a small TV room with about 25 industrial lunchroom chairs lined up for ease of viewing. The tall ceilinged room was painted a basic beige and had various decorations scattered about the room. The Food For Friends volunteers, with the assistance of Manager Mike (see picture of him wearing the Sox shirt and all black hat), prepped the serving area by locating and setting up three food serving tables. Next, we received the inbound catering at street level and shuffled it up the staris with help from a few of the guests. Because of the condensed serving size we had to stage the food in replenishment waves.

Our crew, with very little direction, set up shop in a matter of 25 minutes. The men began forming a line at the back of the room against the windows. We had large foil trays of fried chicken, mac and cheese, bratwurst and sausage, slices of fresh watermelon, and hotdogs. For dessert, strawberry jello and fancy fudge brownies. The room was full of the smell of tasty food and the friends that were eager to eat.

Manager Mike fetched a guest that is known for delivering prayers before meals. Minutes later, with the TV (that Food For Friends donated!) silenced and all heads in the room bowed, words of thanks and blessings were delivered amongst all in attendance. The same gentleman was also not bashful in the hugging department. It set almost a quiet and peaceful tone for the rest of the food service. The Food For Friends for friends crew asked the guests to wait for seconds, but enjoy their firsts.  With that said, “let’s eat”!

Men filtered through the line of all ages. Some looked like they may have just gotten off of work, while others were in worse physical and mental conditions unable to support themselves or their families. All were happy to be in line and not have the worry of where the next meal was coming from or how much it might cost them. As the food service progressed the line stayed consistently wrapped around the room. Men who had already received their food were sitting and chatting away with each other. It was obvious that some hadn’t seen each other for days or weeks.

This hotel is very much a community and a safe place for those in need.

One man, carrying a Tupperware dish (actually quite a few had these for keeping their seconds for later), said that his wife and daughter were over at an all-women’s hotel blocks away. He was proud of them because they were just accepted into a program to get them back on their feet and supporting themselves in a small apartment in the near future. Another man was telling everyone that his daughter just turned 1 last week. This hotel was very much a community and a safe place for those in need.

The food service lasted about 90 minutes and was just enough to serve everyone and a third of them again. Stragglers were given renewed hope as a local Masons order had just arrived and were talking about taking over the same space to serve dinner. As the Food For Friends Crew packed up to depart, Manager Mike thanked us for our time and generosity. We thanked him and everyone else in the room for allowing us into their lives and home to serve them. With that, we walked down the long flight of stairs back out to the sunlit street. But, just before exiting out of the building, above the door hung a sign, “Life doesn’t come with a remote. You have to get up and change it yourself”.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to be the tools used to administer these meals provided by Food For Friends  and Lee ‘n Eddies.

Dane Hiteman, Food For Friends volunteer

May 12, 2018 Event Recap: Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel Church

Note:  On May 12, 2018, Food For Friends sponsored a Mobile Food Pantry event at The Chapel Church, Lake Zurich. We sponsor these Food Pantry events a number of times throughout the year. Below please find a thank you note that Food For Friends Board Member Ken Rasbid sent out to the volunteers after the event.

Food For Friends served 224 ‘Friends’ at the May 12, 2018 Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel Church of Lake Zurich

“I want to thank each of you that contributed to our May event as 224 families collected groceries and received hope through the love you provided.  Of note, this Mobile Food Pantry had a record number of 94 pre-registrations that were redistributed to our friends in both Wauconda, as well as next door at Zurich Meadows.  I’m so proud of this team for mobilizing and bringing the food directly to the people most in need!

I also want to share how we see God moving through this ministry.  As a result of the time invested in Wauconda and the expansion of relationships with leaders in their community, I am thrilled to share that Life Bridge Community Church will be hosting their first MFP on Saturday, June 30.  There new leadership group has an amazing heart for their neighbors in need and have been hard at work planning and pre-registering guests for what we hope is simply their first of many events to come.   Thank you both Food For Friends, and the Stahl Family Foundation – who have stepped in to sponsor and financially support this endeavor!

I encourage you today and remind you that we are each “more than food”.   Let’s continue our work and see how lives are changed!


Ken Rasbid, Board Member – Food For Friends”

Event Recap – The Music Box Foundation – Easter Dinner

Note:  On Easter Sunday, Food For Friends supported The Music Box Foundation as they threw a community dinner on behalf of their Foundation.  The following article was sent in via email by Jennifer North.  The Food For Friends Board would like to thank Jennifer for sending in photos and a recap of this serving event. To see all the photos, go to our Facebook album for this event.

On Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 from 12 noon to 6pm, the Music Box Foundation served over 200 free meals.

On Easter Sunday Food For Friends partnered with the Music Box Foundation to serve over 200 free meals. For more photos, go to our Facebook album for this event.

The community Easter dinner was a success.  Over 200 people attended including eniors, veterans, homeless citizens, young families and friends in the South Shore Community. They were served a fantastic Easter dinner while music played in the background, creating a fun community atmosphere.

The Foundation would like to mention some thank yous.  First, a special thanks to the the members from the Chicago Fire Department and Police Department who came out to be a part of fellowshipping with the community.  We appreciate all they do for our community.  Second, a thank you to thank you to our volunteers for helping make this event possible for the Southshore community.  And finally….thanks to the Food For Friends organization for your donation and support.


Jennifer North
The Music Box Foundation Volunteer
Food for Friends Volunteer

About The Music Box Foundation:  The Music Box Foundation is a nonprofit organization that believes all children, no matter where they live, where they go to school, or what special needs they may have, deserve to have a music education.  The Music Box Foundation believes that music has the power to unify and strengthen our communities and provide inspiration and purpose to our youth. The Music Box Foundation believes that music can ignite a passion for learning, keep children off the streets, and provide an exciting and lucrative career path. The Music Box Foundation hopes to empower all students and their communities with the tools and resources to explore, understand, use, and create music.

Feeding those less fortunate than ourselves