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Event Recap: 4/17/2021 Mobile Food Pantry at LifeBridge Church

The following article was submitted by Ken Rasbid, Board Member – Food For Friends. We would like to thank Ken for this article. We would also like to thank our five volunteerss for this event and a special thank you to Tom And Kiki Parnum who are the Mobile Food Pantry Leads at Lifebridge Church. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-04-17 Mobile Food Pantry at LifeBridge Church 

For every food event held at the LifeBridge Church, God continues to provide the right amount of food for the amount of people in need of groceries. 

165 total families were served a weeks’ worth of groceries via a safe drive-thru food truck distribution event

For this gathering, over 160 families were served including a redistribution of supplies where volunteers brought groceries directly to both the Wauconda Senior Living Facility, as well as to pre-registered families of students receiving supplemental lunch support through the state. 

God has persistently been faithful in providing the right amount of volunteers to help with the event. At the end of the day, everyone who came received groceries, and volunteers left with smiling faces having had the opportunity to serve. 

Praise God!

Ken Rasbid, Board Member – Food For Friends

Event Recap: April 17, 2021 Fellowship Housing Grocery Distribution

On Saturday, April 17, 2021, Food For Friends  provided some much-needed assistance to 13 single moms from the Fellowship Housing program in Hoffman Estate, IL.  

Boxes of Groceries wait to be picked up at our April 17th food distribution event for Fellowship Housing moms

Christina Chacon and Ken Rasbid, Food For Friends board members, loaded groceries from the Life Bridge Community Church .  The vehicle was packed like a sardine then drove out to the Fellowship Housing office in Hoffman Estates for distribution. 

The weather was beautiful and the groceries were set outside for curbside pickup. As the moms approached the parking lot they smiled  and popped open their truck.  Some moms were comfortable enough to roll down the window and say hello.  Our small gift of groceries goes a long way to help them save for the future. It is obvious that we are making an impact in the lives of these moms and their children.

We value our partnership with Fellowship Housing and look forward to serving the single moms in the program again soon.  For more about Fellowship Housing, we encourage you to visit the Fellowship Housing website.

Event Recap: 2021-04-04 Music Box Foundation

On Sunday, April 4th, 2021, Music Box Foundation partnered with Food For Friends to provide Easter Dinner meals to the south side community.

Food For Friends and Music Box Foundation volunteers worked side by side to distribute 200 Easter dinner meals on the South Side of Chicago

The event was held at Music Box Foundation’s main headquarters, a retired Firehouse, at 6843 S Harper in Chicago. All precautions were taken to safely package each meal within the facility while social distancing. The warm weather made it easy to keep the large Firehouse garage door open and deliver 200 meals curbside.

All volunteers wore masks and plastic gloves as they packaged and delivered each meal. The day started slow as families were still enjoying the holiday indoors but the volunteers stayed in great spirits and welcomed every passerby to the facility with a smile.

The majority of the guests we served are long term residents of the neighborhood. Although they had been in the area a long time, many of them were unaware of the services Music Box Foundation had to offer. As they received their meals, guests learned more about the organization’s history and all our upcoming events. We hope that this day has brought us closer to becoming a pillar of support in the south side community.

Thank you Food For Friends and volunteers for your contributions!

Jazmin Aaron
Marketing Manager
Music Box Foundation

P.S. As a non-profit, Music Box Foundation’s mission is “To be a catalyst for building healthy communities and enriching lives through the power of music and the arts.” They have committed themselves to being a staple in their community and a safe space to anyone that might be in need of their services.

Event Recap: April 3, 2021 Easter Meal At H.E.L.P.S.

On Saturday, April 3, 2021, Food For Friends provided an Easter meal at the H.E.L.P.S Ministry in St. Charles. The meal was catered by Lee N Eddies , a long time and valued partner.  

Guests enjoy an Easter meal at H.E.L.P.S.

The Food for Friends volunteers help make this event a success every year!   Approximately 6 volunteers attended, they were all amazing, helping with set up, serving the meal and the clean up.

The meal was delicious as always, which consisted of ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pasta, gravy, Hawaiian meatballs and jello. H.E.L.P.S. Ministry provided the desserts and beverages.

We are happy to report that about 70 guests were provided a delicious meal throughout the day. An additional 45 meals were packed and delivered to those families that could not attend the event.  Special thank you to Bernie and Connie who delivered the meals.  

Due to COVID, we serve the meal a bit different, still family style just a bit more cautious. The volunteers served the guests each food item to decrease the amount of people touching the bowls. Hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks were available. Instead of there being a set time for arrival, we encouraged guests to show up at different times throughout the day and early evening. This provided further distancing between guests.

The guests and the volunteers kept saying thank you for having the meal during these hectic times. They wanted to give thanks and needed to gather with others.

Overall event was great! We at H.E.LP.S. are so grateful for the partnership and volunteers.

Terina Erb

Volunteer with H.E.L.P.S. Ministry in St. Charles IL

Event Recap: April 3, 2021 Austin Community Easter Event

The following article was submitted by Kelly, a volunteer with Advanced Practice Providers at Rush. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-04-03 Austin Community Easter Event 

On Saturday, April 3, 2021 Food For Friends participated in a special Easter community event for the Austin community at Clark Park in Chicago.

126 Food For Friends Blue Bags, filled with food for a family Easter meal, await Austin community members

This event was a collaboration between a number of organizations, including Rush Advanced Practice Providers Volunteers, Food For Friends, Fathers Who Care, Chicago Rugby, and the Chicago Police Department. Other foundations offered their support, including the Teech foundation, Chicago Non-violent Group, Loretto hospital, and HSI. The local Alderman even made an appearance!

Food For Friends, together with these organizations, distributed 126 frozen chickens and Blue Bags filled with food designed to feed a family for Easter Dinner. There were also tables set up in the Park that provided community members with mental health and COVID resources.

The children attending the event were provided an Easter Egg basket. In the basket, the children found crayons, coloring pages, bubbles and a toy. The children also were invited to take part in an Easter Egg hunt. The hunt consisted of over 1000 candy stuffed eggs for the children.

It was a beautiful sunny day. The adults enjoyed the socially distanced event that got them out of the house. Meanwhile, the kids enjoyed the Easter Egg hunt, playing hopscotch, blowing bubbles, jump rope games, basketball, and whiffle ball.

Thanks to all the volunteers and all the participating organizations.

Kelly, Volunteer with APP Rush.

Event Recap: Easter Meal At The Ewing Annex Hotel

The following article was submitted by Barbara Gaona, Food For Friends Volunteer. We would like to thank Barbara for this article and the four volunteers who served at this event. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-04-03 Ewing Annex Hotel 

On Saturday, April 3, 2021, Food For Friends ministry continued our ongoing initiative to provide meals to the men at the Ewing Annex Hotel.  The Ewing Annex Hotel is the last standing single-occupancy housing for men in transition in Chicago, IL.  

We planned to serve the Easter meal on-site, to make it a little special for the occasion.  Previously all meals since Covid were distributed prepackaged.  

Dan Veles, owner of Lee ‘n Eddies Catering, arrived at the hotel with trays of food and took care of the set up.  Four volunteers were there to serve the meal to the men.  

Once the food was all laid out on tables for the serving line, the men were greeted and we provided a brief history of the ministry.  We then invited the men to come in small groups to get their meals. The men had the opportunity to select what they wanted as they went through the food line.  We filled their styrofoam containers with Sliced Turkey, Glazed Ham, pasta, potatoes, greens, meat balls, French roll and a brownie. 

In order to minimize the risk of the men and volunteers, everyone wore a mask.  Blessings and thank yous were exchanged during that time. 

The men all enjoyed the meal and grateful for Food For Friends volunteers. This monthly meal serving is such a treat to the men and they are all so appreciative that we have the resources to provide them with this monthly meal.  

Thank you so much to our donors! We continue to be grateful for the resources and the opportunity to serve these men.  

Barbara Gaona – FFF Volunteer

Event Recap: 400 Blue Bags For Easter

The following article was submitted by Christina Chacon, Board Member – Food For Friends. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-04-03 400 Easter Blue Bags 

If you are an avid follower of all the great things we do here at Food For Friends, you know we love to distribute Blue Bags filled with food. And those we serve love to receive those Blue Bags around Thanksgiving time.

So, we thought.. how about we distribute our Blue Bags around Easter with all the food items that a family would need to have a meal to celebrate Easter? We accomplished that this weekend.

On Saturday, April 3, 2021 Food For Friends was blessed to distribute 400 Easter Blue Bags to much needed families.  This was not an easy task, however with teamwork all is possible.  The event was such a success.   

We had some amazing volunteers for this event. Thanks to all of them!

The food items and frozen chickens arrived early Saturday morning (four pallets) at the San Miguel Gymnasium.  Twelve volunteers from the Chicago Rugby Club arrived to assist with the set-up, assembly and distribution of all the bags.  We filled the Blue Bags with items for an Easter meal such as frozen chicken, boxed mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, canned vegetables, brownie mix, rice, beans, and other goodies.  

The day was sunny and windy.  It was perfect to set up outside as a walk up/curb side distribution in the San Miguel parking lot. The volunteers distributed the Blue Bags and frozen chickens to the Back of the Yard community, Moms from the Fellowship Housing Program and West Side Community within two hours. The volunteers were happy and eager to assist. 

All families receiving this special Easter delivery of food were so thankful. We heard many stories from families in need that were not planning to have a special Easter meal for their family. With this gift of food, they were now able to plan a special meal.

For this event, all Covid-19 protocols were taken to keep everyone safe. All volunteers left with warm hearts, knowing they provided a special Easter meal to 400 families. 

We have many people we need to thank for this event.

  • A special thank you to Linda for her involvement in procuring the food items and the special card and candy that was included in all the bags.
  • Thanks to Karen, a long-time Food For Friends volunteer, for being the co-lead for this event.
  • Thanks to Danielle from the Rugby Club for coordinating the volunteers,
  • Thanks to Trudy and Phil, also from the Rugby Club, for their involvement in making sure all the bases were covered,
  • Thanks to Naela and Lincoln for their Quality Control Assistance
  • Last, but not least, thanks to all our donors for their generous support.

This event is proof again that when everyone comes together with a passion for a serving event, we can accomplish anything.

Happy Easter everyone!

Christina Chacon, Food For Friends Board Member

Event Recap: March 20, 2021 Fellowship Housing

The following article was submitted via email from Food For Friends volunteer Joan Richards. Thanks to Joan for submitting this article and pictures. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-03-20 Fellowship Housing 

On Saturday, March 20, 2021, Food For Friends  provided some much-needed assistance to 12 single moms from the Fellowship Housing program in Hoffman Estates, IL.  

Two loyal Food For Friends volunteers had a beautiful, sunny day and loaded their vehicles with food from the  The Chapel-Lake Zurich food pantry event earlier that day and drove off to the Fellowship Housing office in Hoffman Estates. 

Boxes of food all ready for our Fellowship Housing moms to pick up during our event

While the weather was cold, it was sunny, which seemed to brighten up everyone’s day. As the moms approached the parking lots they were instructed to have a name tag on the dashboard and windows rolled up to minimize the contact. Once we identified the mom, we had her pop open her trunk. We then loaded food for the mom and her family into her trunk. 

The food was bountiful, a large box of dairy and meat items, a large box of dry goods, a dozen eggs, some ribs and other meat items.  We had an extra bag of carrots we gave a mom.  She said she loved carrots and was going to make soup with them and she had been hoping that today there would be carrots.  Only GOD!!!!

As each mom drove through our mini drive through event, we could tell that they were so happy and grateful for this gift of food. They are all trying so hard to start a new life for themselves and their children. Our little gift of food goes a long way to help them save for the future. It is obvious that we are making an impact in the lives of these moms and their children.

We value our partnership with Fellowship Housing and look forward to serving these 12 single moms again soon.  For more about Fellowship Housing, we encourage you to visit the Fellowship Housing website.

Event Recap: March 13, 2020 Ewing Annex Hotel

The following article was submitted via email from Food For Friends volunteer Barbara Gaona. Special Thank you Dan Veles for catering and assistance with the set up. And Food For Friends volunteers Barbara Gaona and Nick Johansson they served a total of 120 meals to the men at the hotel. Thanks to Barbara for submitting this article and pictures. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-03-13 Ewing Annex Hotel 

Barbara provides an overview of Food For Friends and our mission before the men pick up their meals

It was a sunny and beautiful Saturday morning, March 13, approximately one year into the pandemic that has disrupted all of our lives and caused so much hardship.   On this Saturday, Food For Friends ministry continued our ongoing initiative to provide meals to the men at the Ewing Annex Hotel.  The Ewing Annex Hotel is the last standing single-occupancy housing for men in transition in Chicago, IL.  

Lee ‘n Eddies Catering has been our long-term and strategic partner for sourcing our food for our meals at the Ewing Annex Hotel. On this day, Dan Veles, owner of Lee ‘n Eddies Catering, arrived at the hotel with prepackaged Styrofoam containers containing the food we were going to serve .  The boxes of meals were carried upstairs and set up for distribution. 

Once the food was all laid out on tables and ready for serving, the men were greeted and provided a brief history of the ministry.   Then, a man decided to lifted us up in a prayer. We then invited the men to come get their meals.   

The meal consisted of fried chicken, sweet potatoes and vegetables.

In order to minimize the risk of the men and volunteers, the men picked up meals in small groups.  Everyone was required to wear a mask.  As they came up and got their food, there were a few seconds where the volunteers could have a brief interaction with the men. Blessings and thank yous were exchanged during that time.

It was obvious that the men all enjoyed the meal of fried chicken, sweet potatoes and vegetables.  This monthly meal serving is such a treat to the men and they are all so appreciative that we have the resources to provide them with this monthly meal.

We continue to be grateful for the resources and the opportunity to serve these men.  

Barbara Gaona – FFF Volunteer

Event Recap: February 20, 2021 Fellowship Housing Moms

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, Food For Friends  provided some much-needed assistance to 15 single moms from the Fellowship Housing program in Hoffman Estate, IL.  

Two loyal Food For Friends volunteers braved the cold weather and loaded their vehicles with food left over from the Life Bridge Community Church event earlier that day and drove off to the Fellowship Housing office in Hoffman Estates.

While the weather was very cold, it was sunny, which seemed to brighten up everyone’s day. As the moms approached the parking lots they were instructed to have a name tag on the dashboard and windows rolled up to minimize the contact. Once we identified the mom, we had her pop open her trunk. We then loaded food for the mom and her family into her trunk.

As each mom drove through our mini drive through event, we could tell that they were so happy and grateful for this gift of food. They are all trying so hard to start a new life for themselves and their children. Our little gift of food goes a long way to help them save for the future. It is obvious that we are making an impact in the lives of these moms and their children.

We value our partnership with Fellowship Housing and look forward to serving these 15 single moms again soon.  For more about Fellowship Housing, we encourage you to visit the Fellowship Housing website.