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Event Recap: Humble Hearts Foundation distributes 75 Turkeys and Blue Bags!

The following article was submitted by Carol Boyd, who is President & Founder a unique organization called the “Humble Hearts Foundation”


Humble Hearts distributed 75 Turkeys and Blue Bags to needy families in the days before Thanksgiving

When TURKEYS show up – I shout out !!!

Thank you to Food For Friends & Hyatt Regency O’Hare for blessing Humble Hearts with sponsoring turkeys to help me bless those in need.

75 homes were able to receive a Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, stuffing and corn to sit down and have a Happy Thanksgiving dinner with their family and friends.

I give thanks to God for with out him I would not be blessed nor able to do what I do As he sends me generous compassionate people to help me continue to be his foot soldier doing what I love doing … Helping People.

From my home to yours May it be filled with food, warmth, love and peace. May we pray for those with out , & not take any morsel for granted… Amen


Carol Boyd
President/ Founder
Humble Hearts Foundation

Event Recap: Church of God Holiness Distributes 50 Thanksgiving Blue Bags

The following article was received from Willie Carter, Church of God Holiness



In the days before Thanksgiving, volunteers for the Church of God Holiness distributed 50 Turkeys and Blue Bags filled with Thanksgiving food staples

Dear Mr. Dan Herzog / Food for Friends:

Thanks again for the 3rd year of your generous donation of 50 turkeys to support the Church of God Holiness Thanksgiving Food Drive.

We are so grateful for your partnership in helping 50 plus of our neighbors in need of food to gather around their tables to enjoy a wholesome Thanksgiving meal.

We can’t thank you enough for your support, but please know how much you’ve helped those families and how appreciative we are for your kindness.

May God Forever Bless You.

Missionary Willie Carter
Church of God Holiness
Mission Department

Elgin Community Thanksgiving Dinner Event Recap: Over 1,000 Served!

Note:  Thanks to Food For Friends volunteer Rich LeBron ( who coordinated our serving volunteers and provided content for the following article:
On Thanksgiving day, the Elgin community came together for a Thanksgiving Dinner at the First Methodist Church in Elgin. Food For Friends donated the Turkeys and we had over 50 volunteers helping to serve.

Thanksgiving would not be the same if you were not able to share the experience with over 1000 fellow community members.

Every year various partners across the Elgin area and a bunch of community volunteers come together to offer a free Thanksgiving Dinner to anyone in the Elgin area.   The event hopes to serve anyone in the community that may need a little help, food and love around this time of the year.  This year, the Thanksgiving dinner was held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 23 in the basement of First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin.

The event is organized by Jeff Turner of In the Neighborhood Deli.  Volunteers from throughout the community gather to cook and serve a hot turkey dinner with all the fixings to over 1000 of our neighbors.

Food For Friends was a significant partner for this event, donating over 1,000 pounds of turkey.   The staff at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin cooked and carved the meat.  Other partners included the Salvation Army of Elgin, In the Neighborhood Deli and the First United Methodist Church.

An event this big requires many serving volunteers.  There were 40 volunteers from Food For Friends.  There were also volunteer groups from local churches, high school girls sports teams. Volunteers at First United Methodist Church served the main dish along with plenty of trimmings and several dessert options.

This was truly a community event and is designed that way in an effort to bring everyone together.  Kids were treated to a table filled with fun games, crafts and smiling faces.  Both the guests and volunteers all commented how this was the highlight of their holiday and were filled with a thankful heart.

Jeff Turner the founder of the event announced his vision to eventually hold up to 12 events throughout the year to help meet the needs of those in the community.  He already has community dinners around Christmas and Valentine’s Day and is looking to start up a summertime event, likely a cookout at a park in the June timeframe.

Looking for more pictures from this event?  We have over 100 pictures from this Thanksgiving Dinner over on our Facebook album

Video captures the magic of serving Thanksgiving Dinner at Pacific Garden Mission

Food For Friends volunteer John McKenzie produced a 2 minute video from footage he took during this year’s Thanksgiving serving event at the Pacific Garden Mission.

It does a great job of capturing the magic of serving at this annual event. Have a look at it!!  Just double click on the picture or head over to the following URL

A big thanks to John for producing the video!


Thanksgiving Dinner Recap: HELPS Ministry in St. Charles

Note:  This article was submitted by long-time HELPS Ministry volunteer Terina Erb 
On Thanksgiving Day, Food For Friends partnered with the HELPS Ministry in St. Charles to host a dinner for about 120 needy families and individuals.

We had such a beautiful Thanksgiving Day to hold a special dinner at the HELPS Ministry in St. Charles for area families and individuals in need and without the resources or connections to have a dinner of their own.   On this Thanksgiving, HELPS Ministry filled that void, with help from Food For Friends.

A few hours prior to the event, over 20 volunteers arrived energetically to the ministry to set up and get the gym ready for Thanksgiving dinner.   The set up consisted of tables and chairs, decorations throughout the gym, and food set up in preparation for the meal.  The gym looked amazing and the volunteers were all smiles and full of anticipation for the serving event.

About 2:00 p.m., families aind individuals started to arrive.  Our volunteers greeted them with choruses of “Happy Thanksgiving” and were treated in return with smiles and “Happy Thanksgiving’ greetings.
After our guests were all sitting, a prayer was given and communion was offered to all.  The volunteers then served the meal family style and a whole turkey was actually carved at each table.  All the guests enjoyed digging into the turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, pasta, veggies and dessert.    Music was playing and the place was lively.
A family of ten showed up a bit late and was hesitant to walk in at first, but they were soon greeted with smiles and more choruses of “Happy Thanksgiving!”.  So they walked in and the volunteers made them feel very welcomed.  They too were served family style and you could just see the warm feelings of love and happiness fill the table.
In all, about 120 people were served and everyone was smiling and stomaches were satisfied.  After the meal few guests even got up and danced to the music!
As we went around to the tables, we talked to many of our guests.  Some of the homeless that we talked to said they were impressed that their food was not served on paper plates.  That made the meal even that more special.   We heard a number of guests ask when the next event would be and how they could become more involved with the HELPS Ministry and programs.  Finally, our hearts were touched when at one table a homeless child said “This is the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had.”
So, we can truly say that this event was a complete success.
For more pictures of the event, see our photo album on our Facebook page

Blue Bag Event Recap: HELPS Ministry in St. Charles

Note:  This article was submitted by long-time HELPS Ministry volunteer Terina Erb 
HELPS Ministry and Food For Friends partnered up to provide 25 Turkeys and Blue Bags to needy St. Charles area families

What’s a Thanksgiving without a turkey and the other goodies?  Just another day.  However this Thanksgiving some St. Charles area families received that special Thanksgiving dinner thanks to a partnership between Food For Friends and the HELPS Ministry.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Food For Friends provided HELPS Ministry in St. Charles, 25 blue bags filled with a frozen turkey and all the trimmings.  This HELPS Ministry, a Christ centered ministry, has been serving homeless and needy individuals since 2000.
The Food For Friends Blue Bag were all distributed within the St. Charles area to families in need.  Some of the families were single parent homes and other homes were just down on their luck because of job loss or illnesses that caused financial hardships.
One family, new to the area, didn’t know where to turn for help, but the HELPS ministry heard about them and showed up with a Food For Friends Blue Bag.   They were provided a turkey and all the trimmings.  Talk about big smiles!
These meals provide families a reminder of all they have to be thankful for in their lives. It gives them a special time to sit down and reflect on the things they are thankful for in their lives instead of all their hardships.   Food For Friends and the HELPS Ministry is proud of our partnership and look forward to many more years of working to make an impact in peoples lives within the St. Charles community and surrounding area.
For more pictures taken during this Blue Bag distribution event, see our photo album on our Facebook page

West Cook YMCA Event Recap: Community Gives Thanks Together

The West Cook YMCA and Food For Friends partnered up for another successful Thanksgiving meal.
Note:  Thanks to Paige Clincy, Residence Case Manager, West Cook YMCA, for sending in the following article and pictures

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner at the West Cook YMCA was held, as always, on Thanksgiving day.   Each year, volunteer and staff work to provide a place for the community to gather and give thanks.  This year the tradition continued with a successful Thanksgiving dinner serving event.

The event is held right on one of the gymnasium floors, underneath the basketball hoops. Here over 60 community members and guests gathered to enjoy a full Thanksgiving meal that included greens, vegetables, mashed potatoes, yams, macaroni and cheese, turkey with stuffing and gravy, and rolls plus an array of desserts.

20 volunteers and staff from Food for Friends and West Cook YMCA did more than serve the meal, they provided a warm and welcoming place for those that had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.   The volunteers love this serving event and tell us they find it extremely rewarding as a way to give back to the community.  In fact a number of our volunteers have made this event a part of their Thanksgiving tradition, serving with their family members.

Many of the community members stayed longer than their meal time enjoying the companionship and conversation around the tables.   A few community members even took advantage of the walking track above the gymnasium to walk a few calories off after the meal!

Check out more pictures from this event at the photo album on our Facebook page.

Blue Bag Event: Hopewell Baptist Church in Englewood

On Thursday, November 16th, we donated 25 turkeys and Blue Bags to Hopewell Baptist Church in the Englewood community of Chicago.   Since 1964, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church has been a force for good in the West Engelwood community.  Hopewell is located at 2308 West Harrison St. Chicago, Illinois 60612

While we don’t have any reports or stories from this event, we do have a few photos that were shared with us.  We can be certain that 25 needy families were able to have a proper Thanksgiving meal!

Blue Bag Event: Chicago Englewood District

The Chicago Police Department, Believe in Thine Ministries and Food For Friends jointly hosted a Blue Bag event on November 22, 2017.   This was the first time for this event in the Englewood community.  We provided 50 turkeys, Blue Bags, and T-shirts for the event.

Chicago Police Officers from the Englewood District pose for a picture with volunteers during the Food For Friends Blue Bag giveaway event.

Felleesa Square helped organize this event and we thank her so much.  Fellessa is a community service officer (Englewood District) for the Chicago Police Department. She gathered her fellow officers and the rallied volunteers from Believe in Thine Ministries to fill the Blue Bags with food and Thanksgiving trimmings for a complete meal.   The volunteers then handed the Food For Friends Blue Bags to families in need at the Englewood district Police Department location.

More pictures on our Facebook page at the 2017 Nov CPD Englewood photo album

The following is an email we received from Felleesa shortly before Thanksgiving


As Thanksgiving approaches, 007th District Chicago Police Department along with Food For Friends, and Believe in Thine Ministries organized “Let’s Give Thanks” event to help spread some holiday cheer to the families in Chicago Englewood Area. Food for Friends provided us with turkeys, blue bags, and t-shirts for our volunteers and Pastor Kevin Brown provided everything else to go into the baskets. Each household was provided a turkey with all the trimming to feed a family of four.

We held “Let’s Give Thanks” event to provide a little helping hand to those in need this holiday season, because Thanksgiving is supposed to be a happy time to be with your family and cook a traditional meal for the people you love.

On November 22, 2017 at 6000 South Ashland Avenue Chicago, IL 60636, we were able to assist over 110 families in the turkey giveaway, and it was our honor to serve a full Thanksgiving meal to the great citizens in Chicago Englewood Area.

Faleesa Square
Community Organizer
Chicago Police Department

100 Volunteers Serve 700 Meals at Pacific Garden Mission

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017 one hundred Food For Friends volunteers carved out a portion of their day to serve a warm, delicious fully trimmed Thanksgiving Dinner to well over 700 of our “Friends” at the Pacific Garden Mission at 1458 S. Canal Street, Chicago, IL.

Our “Friends” at Pacific Garden Mission represent homeless and under-resourced men, women and children who came to the annual dinner hungry and in need of a meal.  These are people who are in search of a change in their life and many of them experience that change through the wonder of the Pacific Garden Mission.

As they entered the dining hall, various Food For Friends volunteers greeted them with wishes of Happy Thanksgiving.  They smiled back and wished us all a Happy Thanksgiving as well.

As they sat down, the Food For Friends volunteers kicked it up into a high gear of serving activities.   We provided a hot Thanksgiving meal of Turkey, dressing, stuffing, gravy, mixed veggies, sweet potatoes prepared with love from Dan Veles from Lee and Eddy’s Catering.   Hard working crews of volunteers served the guests hot coffee, cold kool-aid and water.  Another crew of volunteers cut up and served over 120 pies donated by Bakers Square including apple, blueberry, peach, cherry and of course pumpkin.  Ice Cream was donated and served by Culvers restaurants out of Franklin Park.   We owe so many thanks to our partners for these donations of food and services.

The guests were all very thankful!    Throughout the serving event there were spontaneous laughter and clapping from the guests as they enjoyed their meals.  As they left, there were more smiles and “Happy Thanksgivings” by all.   Many of them could be heard commenting on how great the food and volunteers were.

We were very honored to continue the Food For Friends tradition of 23 years serving Thanksgiving Eve meal in Chicago to this group at the Pacific Garden Mission.  This was our annual opportunity to ‘Pay it Forward’ and help those in need on the near south side of Chicago.   We did our part to CHANGE THINGS with our KINDNESS and INSPIRE CHANGE in others who see the good we are doing.

A special thanks to all those who served with us at Pacific Garden Mission or our other holiday serving events.  For many of you this has become a long-standing tradition to “Pay it Forward” and give back to our community.  This is our chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus and celebrate all the blessings in our lives together with a community of people in our city of Chicago. We trust you left the serving event with a warm feeling inside you, knowing that you had an impact on the lives of others.

For more pictures of the event, please head over to our 2017 Pacific Garden Mission photo album on our Facebook page.

NOTE:  If any of you who volunteered took pictures that you would like us to share on our Facebook page, please send these to