Annual Elgin Christmas Community Dinner

On December 22, 2020, Together We’re Elgin found a way to host their annual Christmas Dinner in their community. It was challenging, but they did it! The article below was sent in by Jeff Turner, Founder of Together We’re Elgin. Food For Friends was honored to partner on this event. For more pictures from this event, see our album 2020-12-22 Elgin Community Christmas Dinner 

A wonderful evening was had by all.  Sometimes in life, a blessing comes to you right when it really needs to. 

That is what happened this holiday.  Under normal circumstances this holiday season, myself and my team with Together We’re Elgin would be hosting our annual Christmas Community Dinner at the Hemmen’s Cultural Center in Elgin.  Food would be provided by Jewel food stores and the generosity of their customers in the form of dinner kits with ham and all of the fixins.  Food for friends would supplement that with any other items we would need as well as an army of volunteers. 

Assembling the carryout meal containers on Christmas Eve

This year we were unable to have our dinner as we know it because of Covid 19 and restrictions that were put in place.  It was very disheartening as there is such a need in our community.  We feed the homeless, families, individuals and whomever wants to come to our dinners.  Even though we couldn’t do the dinner, we knew we had to do something.

We realized that we needed to pivot and still help some people this holiday season.  As a committee we decided to use some of the meals that were coming from Jewel  to feed our homeless in Elgin on Christmas night, and the rest of the meals would be distributed by Karen Vargas and my wife, Megan Turner to local families in the U-46 school district.  I didn’t realize that over 750 students throughout the district have been identified as homeless.  The need is so great. 

When we realized how huge that need was, a blessing came.  Dan Herzog and the board from Food For Friends decided they wanted to help us yet again, as they have over the past 12 years.  Dan called me and asked if they could sponsor the dinner on Christmas night for the homeless by having it catered, thus freeing up the other boxes of food we had from Jewel, and going to families in need.  By doing this, we not only fed 100 of those on the streets a hot meal, but we also not helped well over 100 MORE people in need throughout the district U-46.  What a blessing.  Lee N Eddies catered a wonderful meal of turkey and dressing roll ups with gravy, sweet potatoes, corn and red peppers, and ham with pineapple glaze.  In addition, they brought bottled water and individually wrapped cookies.  The food was fantastic!

The team gathered on Christmas Eve at the Vineyard Church in Elgin to distribute

On the 22nd, we distributed the boxed meals to families around Elgin, Bartlett, Streamwood, Carpentersville, and Hoffman Estates.  On Christmas Eve, Danny from Lee N Eddies delivered the dinner to me and then our team met up at the Vineyard Church in Elgin on Christmas and warmed all of the food.  35 meals went to another church in the area for their homeless folks and we served over 60 meals at the Vineyard.  The great thing was that the City of Elgin gave approval for seating of up to 25 people in the two churches.  Those people who live outside, could come in for a couple hours and warm up and enjoy a wonderful catered dinner.  The appreciation was overwhelming.

A special thanks to my wife Megan, Karen Vargas, Michael Copeland, and Bob Schuman for all of their help through this holiday dinner and delivering all of the boxed meals to families in need.  Big thanks to Eric Rubin for building the relationship with Jewel food stores and securing all of this food for distribution.  A huge thank you to Food for Friends as well for this incredible  blessing.  And thank you to Lee N Eddies for the wonderful catered dinner.

God Bless.

Jeff Turner – Founder of Together We’re Elgin