Serving Event Report: Mobile Food Pantry July 18, 2015

Note:  This report was filed by Ken Rasbid, our newest Food For Friends Board Member

2015 August Mobile Food Pantry - IMG_5601Food for Friends partnered with the Northern Illinois Food Bank for a mobile food pantry and sit down meal serving event located at the CHAPEL Church of Lake Zurich on Saturday, July 18, 2015.

It was an amazing day filled with so many wonderful outcomes. In summary, here are a few highlights:

  • A total 194 households were served with groceries.  Those households contain 525 people, of which 177 are children.
  • Close to 100 volunteers from Food for Friends, Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Chapel Church generously donated their time and talents to work various portions of the morning/afternoon.
  • Our friends from Rosalind University Mobile Health Clinic provided screenings for 27 patients, two of which were referred to the Emergency Room for necessary care that same day.

2015 August Mobile Food Pantry - IMG_5607Through feedback from many volunteers and some guests, it was very evident that Jesus was present through the love and attitude on display.  I am so honored to have served alongside many of you as introductions were started, relationships were built, and people’s hearts were attended to.  What a wonderful day to see so many people opening their heart and embracing friends in need.

2015 August Mobile Food Pantry - IMG_5605Special thanks to all the volunteers that showed up.  If you have not had a chance to serve at a Food for Friends event, please consider doing so.  Your heart will be rewarded many times over. Please email Christina at food_for_friends@hotmail.com  if you would like more information on how to be a volunteer server.

HELP! Volunteers needed for Saturday July 18 at Mobile Food Pantry in Lake Zurich

FOOD FOR FRIENDS is once again sponsoring a Northern Illinois Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry & Serving a Sit Down Meal with The CHAPEL Church of Lake Zurich on Saturday, July 18, 2015.

We are partnering with the CHAPEL CHURCH and their volunteers for this event and it will be held at their Lake Zurich Campus. ??We will be distributing two weeks of groceries to 200-300 families in need and anticipate up to 750 people for the sit down meal.  This event will take place at the Chapel, 330 S Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL  60047.

We need about 50 Food For Friends volunteers to make this event successful.  With the date fast approaching, we don’t yet have enough volunteers.  Please see below for volunteer hours, you don’t need to stay for the entire shift time.  A couple of hours will make a difference!

07/18, Saturday (50 Volunteers) 7am-1pm

    Shift 1 (7-10am)

•   7 – 9am Kitchen & Food Prep

•   9:30am Begin Serving breakfast

 

   Shift 2 (10-1pm)

•   10am-12pm Mobile Food Pantry Distribution

•   12-1pm Cleanup

 

Please email Christina at food_for_friends@hotmail.com  if you would like to join us for this wonderful serving opportunity.

Letting Go Of The Past In Order To Move Forward

Ewing Annex HotelOn the morning of May 16, 2015 I was on my way to a Food For Friends serving event at the Ewing Annex men’s hotel in the Chicago loop.  As the FFF leader of this event I was really looking forward to serving the homeless men at Ewing Annix and providing them with a good experience.

It was a Saturday morning and I was expecting a quick drive downtown.  However, I eventually found myself stuck in traffic on the 290 Eisenhower expressway….something I had not planned for.

I began to experience both frustration and anxiety because I feared that I was going to be late.   But this emotion peaked and I finally let it go…. there was nothing I could do about the traffic.  Releasing the anxiety was a good feeling and it allowed me then to think of that days serving event, warmly embrace that day, and know that we were fulfilling God’s purpose to serve those with less than me.

As it turned out, the traffic subsided and I was on time to the event.   As I kicked off the event, I incorporated the story of my anxiety of being stuck in traffic into my message and prayer before the meal.  I explained to the men we were serving the importance of letting go of the less important past, including the circumstances that may have been the reason they were homeless and here.  I encouraged the men to embrace today and look forward to the future.   I told them there is a God in heaven who loves them and that choosing this gift of grace is available for their asking.

We discussed taking one step today, just one baby step in planning a better life for their future.  I explained that one of these small steps could include receiving God in their lives and that with God by their side, they can begin their journey with a partner.

So how about you?  How does this story fit into your life and serving with Food For Friends?  Are you ready to let go of something in the past, embrace the gift of today and take one step to plan for tomorrow?

Our leadership team encourages you to let go of reasons preventing you to come out and serve the poor with Food For Friends and embrace the many serving opportunities we have all around Chicagoland to get involved in helping the men, women and children with less that you.

Finally, we also ask you to help us do more by asking for your financial donations.  When we serve others beyond ourselves we grow and receive the gift of a fulfilled life and purpose.

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Report: May 16th Ewing Annex Hotel Serving Event

Ewing Annex HotelFor this event Food For Friends and Lee N Eddies catering joined together as sponsors.  A small group of volunteers served over 135 plates of a delicious brunch meal on Saturday May 16th 2015 at the Ewing Annex Hotel on Clarke street in the loop, Chicago.

This facility is a low income Men’s only hotel for mostly homeless men with little or no money, or jobs.  Food For friends had six volunteers serving up friendly smiles, conversation, a warm meal, and a lot of love to these men.  We all received smiles and thank you’s in return!

We also had the opportunity to be the church to these lost souls.  Pastor Moore from ATTCOM ministries blessed the meal, and Dan Herzog gave a short message to the men, who listened keenly before lining up for the meal.

The meal included fried chicken, honey Hawaiian meatballs, pasta marinara, macaroni and cheese, red skin potatoes, almond green beans, gourmet cookies, jello and fresh baked bread and butter.   These men were hungry!! Almost all the food was consumed within an hour!

See some pictures from the event below.

Thank you for your generous donations to provide funding for this series of serving events.   We are planning to serve a total of five meals at the Ewing Annex Hotel in 2015.  The next serving event at this hotel to bless the men will be in August.  You can sign up to serve as a Food For Friends volunteer by sending us an email at info@foodforfriends.org.

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Check It Out, We’ve Gone Live!

2015 Birdease Golf Registration siteAfter 11 years of golf outings that came with a variety of options for registration, we finally came across a new website specifically designed for Golf Outing events.  After a number of discussions and hours of set up we are very excited for our Food For Friends golf outing sponsors and golfers to check out our slick new golf registration website.

This new registration website will make the process easier than ever for you to register for our annual golf outing.

As you will see once you are on the website, there are both the traditional sponsorships and golf registrations, and some new, creative items. These are intended to further enhance the event, as well as raise additional funds to “feed those in need.”

We want to stress that Food For Friends could not do any of this without your loyal support.  It may sound cliché but we hope to make this our best year yet!

Soooooo……. please check it out our new registration site as soon as possible. And while you are there, why not get signed up early?  All golf registrations paid on or before Friday, July 31 will receive 10 free raffle tickets for each golfer, a $20 value.  As always we will have several great prizes to give away!

If you have any questions on the golf outing or how to register, please send an email to John or Ben Opsahl at golf@foodforfriends.org.

Now….head on over to http://www.birdeasepro.com/foodforfriends2015 and check it out!!

What I Learned While Volunteering At This Year’s H.E.L.P.S. Easter Dinner

Note:  The following article was contributed by FFF volunteer Mark Gilbert

2015 June article Mark GilbertMy wife and I served at the Food for Friends/HELPS Ministry Easter dinner in St. Charles earlier this past April.    It was such a great event that I thought I’d write about my experience.

This is a smaller event than many that Food for Friends does, but having served at the Thanksgiving version of this a year and a half ago, I was anticipating a nice, quality event.  I was not disappointed.  The two organizations involved in this event, Food for Friends and HELPS, work well together.  There were volunteers from both organizations and honestly I couldn’t tell who was who.

The Easter dinner was a billed as a “sit down with some new friends” event.  As a volunteer at this event you spend your time not only serving, but sitting down and having meaningful interactions with the folks you are serving.  Biblically, this event parallels the Mary and Martha story:  it’s not about the prep and how spotless the place is, it’s about people interacting with each other.  The ideal experience is that no one can tell who is serving or being served, and I think we came pretty close.

HELPS Ministry St CharlesA couple years ago, when I first found out about Food for Friends, I thought of the ‘Friends’ in Food for Friends as folks that have challenges very different than mine.  After volunteering at a couple of these events, I have come away realizing that while the challenges of the folks we are serving are slightly different than mine, the real differences between us are very small.   Indeed, the folks at that Easter Dinner I served at have so much to offer us.  They just need a little help from us to get them on the right track again.

Truth is, my wife and I got more out of volunteering at the Easter event than we put into it. Trying to sum things up, I think maybe it’s best to say that people are people, and we’re here to help each other. You don’t have to make it any more complicated than that.

Thanks again for a well-run event!

Mark Gilbert

Serving Report: San Miguel Luncheon – Saturday, June 13, 2015

San Miguel 2015 SAM_2338Food For Friends hosted a luncheon on Saturday, June 13, 2015 for all San Miguel students and their families, helping them celebrate their 20th year celebration.  The event was planned for 250 guest, we had approximately 160 guests and served approximately 200 meals (includes volunteers meals).   We had a bunch of leftovers that were split between HELPS and San Miguel.

The volunteer turnout was great!!  We had 26 volunteers and because of that we wree able to offer our guest a special dining and serving experience.  We heard many comments from guests that the food was delicious (they were happy to have lemon chicken instead of the standard fried chicken) and that they felt very special being served.

Tad Smith, Executive Director at San Mguel, delivered a moving speech celebrating San Miguel 20th year and he noted the important partnership with Food for Friends. Everyone had a great experience!

San Miguel 2015 SAM_2324A few days after the event, we received the following note from Terina Erb, a Food For Friend’s volunteer who served at the event:

Hi Cristina. Just wanted to let you know we had the best time ever serving at San Miguel’s celebration. It was a blessing to serve everyone and to get to know some of the students and staff. It truly is a great school. We brought some new people with us and they also can’t wait to help there again. It was great to see the kids joyfully working together to set up for the event and bring meals to the families. They truly seemed to have this look of accomplishing something great – and they did – they displayed great love. Thanks for letting us be part of their special celebration.   – Terina Erb

San Miguel Masthead1About San MiGuel:   The school is located at: 1954 W 48th St. Chicago, IL.   San Miguel School Chicago was founded  in 1995 by two former Christian Brothers, Gordon Hannon and Ed Siderewicz in a convent dining room, with 18 students, a staff of four and a $50,000 grant.  Today, the San Miguel campus serves approximately 90 Latino students in grades 6 through 8. The mission of this school district is “Transforming Lives and neighborhoods”.  San Miguel is committed to serving students who are academically at-risk and whose families are economically disadvantaged. S tudents are accepted into San Miguel based on three main criteria: academic underperformance, financial need, and living in proximity to the schools.  For more on San Miguel, check out their website.

Want to volunteer at a future serving event?   Please respond via email, food_for_friends@hotmail.com, if you would like to serve. If you can only make it for part of an event, that is fine, just let us know what times you are available so we can plan.

Our April 2015 e-News!

Welcome to the Food For Friends “E-News”!

Greeting friends! We know some of you don’t have the time to checkour Facebook page and website. So this newsletter is another way to reach out to you and let you know what we are doing.

Pacific Garden Mission

In this e-news we have summaries of three articles for you.

The Food For Friends team would like to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing to help hungry people and those in need with your generous gifts both financially and the time you spend serving meals. In doing so, you give back to our friends and neighbors who need help.

Looking forward, we finally have some warmer weather after a long cold winter.  As the weather turns, let’s get out and serve together. I invite you to select a few serving events in the coming months and help serve the needy with us.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for more information.

Lastly, please don’t forget our biggest fundraiser of the year, our 12th annual golf outing. The date this year is Tuesday September 8th and it will be at Bartlett Hills again.  Please plan to join us at that event and know that your help year round is always appreciated and needed, whether you are donating resources of money or your time volunteering.

Thanks!


Dan Herzog
President, Food For Friends
Our Website = http://foodforfriends.org/
Our Facebook page
Our email ID:   info@foodforfriends.org

Note:  If you would rather downolad and print a version of the newsletter, you can do that here Food For Friends e-News for March 2015

Did You Know? We Have a Very Special and Unique Shopping Program

Article contributed by Christina Chacon
FFF Shopping ProgramFood For Friends (FFF) has a very unique shopping program which provides grocery assistance to Chicago-land area families in need that are struggling to make ends meet.  In 2001 we partnered with Fellowship Housing, a transitional 2-year program that successfully guides homeless single moms to long-term stability and independence.  In addition to serving the single moms that participate in the Fellowship Housing program, Food For Friends regularly selects other families in need for grocery shopping assistance.
We are proud to report that in 2014, Food For Friends sponsored ten single moms and their children by providing groceries for a 1-2 month period.  Our assistance with groceries provides great comfort to these moms, who typically have many pressing issues that they are trying to juggle along with a full-time job and family.  Knowing that at least for a short period of time they don’t have to worry about paying groceries is such a blessing for them.  It allows them to allocate some of their budget towards other critical items, such as clothes for their children, education, and savings for their future.
The continued success of the Food For Friends shopping program depends on both donors and volunteers.  Donations received throughout the year and during our annual golf event, provide the funding.  Volunteers play a vital role when they take the time to accompany the single mom on the grocery shopping trips.  This personal one-on-one attention from the volunteer shows the single mom that people do care.  It is a precious gift of comfort and hope.  Volunteers who sign up are are asked to coordinate the shopping trip with the sponsored mom and all groceries purchased are 100% reimbursed by Food For Friends within five business days.
For those of you who have supported our shopping program in past years, we sincerely thank you.  Together we have made a difference in the lives of the families we support.  If you have not ever supported our shopping program through a donation or volunteeering your time, we strongly encourage you to do that in 2015!

Changing Hearts

A message from the President- Daniel L. Herzog

IMG_8929Have you ever experienced a long period of time, perhaps even an all day, without eating?   Do you know that feeling you get in your stomach because you’re so hungry?  Perhaps you even get a headache.  Did you know this happens every day to thousands of people right here in Chicagoland?  And the sad thing is that many of those people are children..

At Food For Friends, we believe hunger is an injustice.  Our mission clearly states how our passion drives us to serve together in order to take action.  Our mission statement reads:  “Food For Friends is  a Chicago based Christian organization that offers hands-on opportunities to provide food to those in need.”   

But what leads us to become so touched, moved and inspired that we take action?  What causes us to donate our time and money to feed those with less than us?  I believe the answer is changed hearts. Your hearts, Our friend’s hearts. 

So what changes our hearts so much that it causes us to take action?  This time of the year brings new growth of plants, flowers and all kinds of vegetation as it emerges from winter blues.  It reminds me that in our lives, we too can emerge from “cold winter places” at any time of the year.  We can grow and change in our hearts via our own spiritual journeys.  But to start that growth and change, it takes both an opportunity to change and then a choice to make that change.  In this case, Food For Friends is providing you with the opportunity to serve those in need.  However, you must make the choice to serve.  When you do, together we stimulate growth and actively change hearts while serving.

By making the choice to serve, you are choosing to move from self-serving to serving others.  In doing so, we grow beyond ourselves to a higher purpose.  Our hearts do change and they can become filled with joy!  Is this a coincidence?  I think not, because the God who created the heavens and the earth has given us road map (his word the Bible) with a command to “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31 & Mathew 22:39) and freedom of choice to follow his command.  

The fact is, when we choose to serve others, we are putting our faith into action.  So please consider serving this year and/or donating to Food For Friends in 2015.  We need your volunteer time and generous donations to give back to our community.  I promise you will have a heart filled with gratitude knowing you have done well, faithful servant.

Feeding those less fortunate than ourselves