Event Recap: February 20, 2021 at Life Bridge Community Church

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, Food For Friends partnered with the Life Bridge Community Church in Wauconda for a Mobile Food Pantry to serve the community at large.  It was a really great day of helping the Wauconda community, where 152 families were cared for and supplied supplemental food for their needs.   

This event was held right at the end of a cold weather period where temperatures stayed below freezing for 16 days straight. Despite the cold temperatures, over 30 volunteers from Life Bridge Church & Cristo Es La Roca teamed up to unpack, repack and redistribute a week’s worth of groceries to their neighbors and students.

The event was held as a drive-through and all the safety precautions were taken for both our volunteers and the families we were serving.  It was especially evident in their smiles and enthusiasm that there was empowerment in making a difference and stepping into a gap they know exists for their neighborhoods.  Plenty of smiles, warm words and love was exchanged through masks as hope positively marked the day. 

Life Bridge Community Church is located at 700 W. Liberty st, Wauconda, ill 60084.    If you would like to learn more about Life Bridge Community Church, check out their website and/or their Facebook page. 

Recap: February 13, 2021 Serving Event at Ewing Annex Hotel

The following article was submitted via email from Food For Friends volunteer Barbara Gaona. A special thank you to Dan Veles for catering and assistance with the set up. Thanks also to Food For Friends volunteers Barbra Gaona and Michelle Burger, who 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 2021-02-13 Ewing Annex Hotel 

The wintery winter didn’t stop our serving event on Saturday, February 13, Food For Friends provided a meal 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 are grateful for the resources to continue to serve these men and the volunteers.  

Thanks to Food For Friends volunteers Barbra Gaona and Michelle Burger, who served a total of 120 meals to the men at the hotel

Everything went very well as planned.  The men at Annex are always very helpful and accommodating.  They assisted Dan Veles in getting the boxes of food upstairs and set up for distribution.  

Due to the weather, the distribution of the meal was inside.  The meal arrived prepackaged in Styrofoam containers.   

Once we were ready to serve, I greeted the small group and provided a brief history of the ministry.  One of the men lifted us up in a prayer and away we went.  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. 

Everyone received a meal and a few had seconds.  The men enjoyed the meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables.  This is such a treat and the men are so appreciated.  

Barbara Gaona, Volunteer – Food For Friends

Calling All Volunteers! 2021 Serving Opportunity at the Ewing Annex Hotel, Chicago , IL

Hello Friends,

Food For Friends has committed to providing a monthly meal at the Ewing Annex Hotel, 430 South Clark in the Chicago Loop. The Ewing Annex Hotel is the last standing single-occupancy housing for men in transition in Chicago, IL. 

The Ewing Annex Hotel

Every month, we will provide 100-120 meals to the men that reside at the hotel. We are looking for 2-3 volunteers to assist with these serving opportunities. It would be great to have some regular volunteers, so we can build TRUST and HOPE with the guests. The volunteers must arrive at 10:15 am and ready to serve at 10:30 am. 

To protect our volunteers and guests, we will be supporting the guidelines laid out by the government and requiring that all volunteers and guests wear masks. Additionally, the meals will be distributed in a prepackaged container. The event will end at 12pm. Meter parking is available for those driving.

To volunteer, go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0e4fa4ae28aafd0-2021. Please refer to the link for specific details on the dates. The dates are subject to change if no volunteers sign-up.

This is our opportunity to 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 you’re doing.

Please help us Connected and Give Hope to those in need.

Thank you,

FOOD FOR FRIENDS

Recap: January 23, 2021 Ewing Annex Hotel

The following emails came in from the two volunteers that led the January 23, 2021 serving event at the Ewing Annex Hotel in Chicago. The first email is the main article, written by Barb Gaona and the second email is from Kurt Lannefeld. Food For Friends would like to thank both of them for serving at this event. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-01-23 Ewing Annex Hotel 

On Saturday, January 23, 2021, Food For Friends held a serving event at the Ewing Annex Hotel on Clark Street in the Loop, Chicago, IL.   The Ewing Annex Hotel is the last standing single-occupancy housing for men in transition in Chicago, IL.  

On January 23, Food For Friends served 120 at the Ewing Annex Hotel for men

Food For Friends volunteers Kurt Lannefeld and Barbra Gaona organized and coordinated the serving event, which served a total of 120 meals to the men at the hotel. 

Due to the weather, the distribution of the meal was inside as it was too cold to be outside. Mike Bush (of Ewing Annex Hotel) set up a couple of tables inside in a room where the meal was distributed. The meal arrived prepackaged in Styrofoam containers.   In order to minimize the risk of the men and volunteers, the men picked up meals in small groups. 

The men had a choice of delicious sliced Turkey w/gravy or Glazed Pineapple Ham which included pasta, green beans, and roasted potato wedges.   The men also received a bag that had a roll, butter, napkin, utensils, jello, brownie, and a mint. The food as always excellent.  

The meal was catered by Lee N Eddies catering. Thanks to Lee N Eddies for their partnership and continued support of our mission.

Barb Gaona, FFF Volunteer

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It was a pleasure serving the men at The Annex Hotel! 

When you really look at what happens to your heart by just handing food to these men, it’s well worth taking my ‘precious weekend time’ to do it. 

It is amazing how God speaks to your Spirit when you least expect Him to!

Kurt – FFF Volunteer

Recap: January 17, 2021 HBinc. for Homeless Blue Bag Event

The following email came from Joan Richards, Volunteer – Food For Friends. Thanks to Joan for this article, the pictures and for her volunteerism. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-01-17 HBInc for Homeless 

On Sunday January 17th volunteers from Food for Friends and HB Inc. came together for the first time to collaborate on an event to serve the homeless on the South side.  

Food For Friends volunteers pose for a picture before the serving event.

Food For Friends Blue bags were packed with easy open canned goods and food items.  The items included were Vienna sausage, V-8, canned chicken and tuna, fruit cocktail, applesauce, bottled water,  and granola bars.   We then packed and included two hot meals, catered by Lee and Eddies Catering.  Those meals included turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans, mac and cheese, a roll and brownies.   

Volunteers also packed blessing bags with personal care items such as socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, a warm scarf, soap, shampoo and other helpful items.  These bags also included messages of hope and scripture.  “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever”.  1 Chronicles 16:34. 

Once all the bags were packed, a caravan of vehicles formed and the volunteers drove the blessing and food bags to the tent cities on 51st and State, 17th and canal, and a few other stops in Chicago, IL.  

In all, 50 homeless were blessed with two hot meals, a Blue Bag of food and a bag of personal care items, plus prayer and scripture.   

The volunteers were blessed with their time together and their service to those in need.  We at Food for Friends are thankful to have had this opportunity to serve with HB Inc, a group of friends and family that has spent 3 decades serving together.  We also thank Music Box Foundation for the loan of their space to pack the meals and bags.  

Our hearts are touched that we can come together even during a raging pandemic and serve those in our own neighborhood who are in need of support and prayer.   

Joan Richards, Volunteer – Food For Friends

January 9, 2021 Mobile Food Pantry at the Chapel in Lake Zurich

The following email came from Christina Chacon, Board Member – Food For Friends. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2021-01-09 MFP at Chapel of Lake Zurich 

The need is great as COVID and unemployment continue, we started off the new year by continuing to share hope with our community. 

On January 9, 2021, 187 households were provided a week’s worth of groceries, which will help support over 709 individuals.

On January 9, 2021 the Chapel in Lake Zurich hosted its first drive-thru Mobile Food Pantry, which is designed to reach out to families that are struggling and provide them with some food to ease their budget concerns.  

It was a sunny mild winter day. We had an abundance of volunteers ready and eager to assist in the distribution of the groceries.  

The Mobile Food Pantry continues to operate as a drive-through experience.  As each car came through the line, everyone stayed in their car as volunteers loaded the food into cars.  187 households were provided a week’s worth of groceries, which will help support over 709 individuals.  Each family received a sleeve of yogurt, box of protein, some produce, a box of canned goods, a gallon of olive oil, and bagels.  

Additionally, we were able to support the 12 Fellowship Housing Moms and the 60 families registered in friendship with Wauconda teachers and LifeBridge Community Church.  

Our primary source for the food for these Mobile Food Pantry events is the Northern Illinois Food Bank.  Special Thank you to the volunteers from Food For Friends, The Chapel (Lake Zurich) and LifeBridge (Wauconda) who carve out some time to continue to make these Mobile Food Pantry events successful.    

Recap of 2020 Serving Events

2020 was a challenging year for all of us. Food For Friends pivoted from our normal events and came up with new ways to serve those less fortunate.  The following two articles give you a glimpse into what our year was like.

  1. A New Way of Serving (April 2020)
  2. 2020: Reflections of Connections and Hope (Dec. 2020)

The rest of this page lists all our serving events held in 2020.  In most cases, we published an article here on the website about the event. If you follow that link, you can learn more about the event, who we served and how the event was organized. You can also access pictures from each event.

If you have any questions about our events, please send us an email at  info@foodforfriends.org

Events Held in 2020 

February 8,  2020

  • What: Elgin Community “Have A Heart” Dinner, Elgin, IL
  • Where: First United Methodist Church 216 E. Highland Ave. Elgin, IL 60120
  • What we did:   Served 200 meals
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 15 volunteers. 
  • Time:  Three shifts: 9-11am, 11-1pm and 1-3pm
  • Read what we did:  Event Recap: 02/08/2020 Elgin Community “Have A Heart” Dinner

February 8, 2020

  • What: Ewing Annex Hotel Luncheon, Chicago, IL
  • Where: Annex Hotel, 430 South Clark, Chicago Loop.
  • What we did: Served over 100 meals
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 5 volunteers.
  • Time: 11– 1pm
  • Read what we did: Event Recap 02/08/2020: Ewing Annex Hotel

February 15, 2020

  • What:  Mobile Food Pantry at Life Bridge Community Church Wauconda, IL
  • What we did:  Food Truck and Serving Lunch to 200 ‘Friends’!
  • FFF Volunteers:  No volunteers were needed.
  • Time: 9:30am-12:30pm
  • No article was submitted for this event, but you can read what we did in 2019:  Event Recap: Life Bridge Community Church – February 16, 2019

March 14, 2020

April 11, 2020    

April 18, 2020   

April 18, 2020   

May 16, 2020

  • What: Food Truck Event at Ewing Annex Hotel
  • Where: Annex Hotel, 430 South Clark, Chicago Loop.
  • What we did:   Arranged for a food truck to provide 150 meals
  • FFF Volunteers:  Two volunteers.
  • Time: 10am – 12pm
  • Read about what we did: May 16, 2020 Food Truck Event at Ewing Annex Hotel

May 16, 2020

May 16, 2020

  • What: Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel Church, Lake Zurich
  • Where: The Chapel, 330 S. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL
  • What we did:   Mobile pantry operated as a drive through pickup for 250 families.
  • Volunteers:  We had over 75 volunteers from all sources.
  • Time: 9:30am-12:30pm
  • Read what we did: May 16, 2020 Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel Lake Zurich

June 12 & June 13, 2020 

June 20, 2020

June 20, 2020

June 27, 2020

July 4, 2020

July 25, 2020

  • What: The Chapel Church partnered with Food For Friends for Mobile Food Pantry at, Lake Zurich
  • Where: Mobile Food Pantry w/Chapel Church, Lake Zurich, IL
  • What we did:  Food Truck and Serving Lunch to 200 ‘Friends’!
  • FFF Volunteers: We had 15 volunteers
  • Time: 9:30am-12pm
  • Read what we did: July 25, 2020 Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel In Lake Zurich

August 15, 2020

  • What:   City of Elgin Back to School BBQ Bash, Elgin, IL
  • Where:   Wing Park Pavilion Band Shell, 1010 Wing St. Elgin, IL 60123
  • What we did:   Cook and distributed meals and food to 2000 ‘Friends’ via a drive through format.
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 20 combined volunteers
  • Time:  11 – 4pm 
  • Read what we did: August 15, 2020 Elgin Back To School Bash

August 22, 2020 

September 7, 2020

  • What:   H.E.L.P.S Ministry Labor Day Cookout
  • Where:  Across the street from HELPS Ministry 6N571 Tuscola Avenue in St. Charles, IL.
  • What we did:  Served 70 meals in an outdoor setting to socially distanced ‘friends’.
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had four volunteers. 
  • Time of event:  11:30 – 5:00pm
  • Read about what we did:  Sept. 7, 2020 H.E.L.P.S. Ministry Labor Day Cookout

September 8,  2020

September 12, 2020

September 19,  2020

  • What: Mobile Food Pantry at The Chapel Church, Lake Zurich
  • Where: The Chapel, 330 S. Old Rand Road, Lake Zurich, IL
  • What we did:  Social distant Mobile Food Pantry drive through and food distribution serving 158 families
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 10 volunteers. 
  • Time: 9:30am-12:30pm
  • Read what we did :   September 19, 2020 Mobile Food Pantry at the Chapel in Lake Zurich

October 17, 2020 

  • What: Mobile Food Pantry at Life Bridge Community Church Wauconda, IL
  • What we did: 
  • FFF Volunteers:  
  • Time: 9:30am-12:30pm
  • No article was submitted for this event

November 7, 2020

November 21, 2020

  • What: Community Thanksgiving “Grab and Go” Meal with Music Box Foundation
  • Where: 6843 S. Harper, Chicago, IL
  • What we did:  Package 150 meals to distribute via drive-thru
  • FFF Volunteers:   We had 3 volunteers.
  • Read what we did: November 20, 2020 Event Recap: Music Box Foundation  

November 2020 (week before Thanksgiving)

  • Where:  Various company locations
  • What we did:   Distribute blue bags and turkeys
  • Thanks! to all the companies and their employees who volunteer and donate food for these events
  • To get a feel for what organizations and their volunteers do with these events, see the following article Blue Bag Event Recap: Bay State Milling Company

November 21, 2020

  • What:  Thanksgiving Blue Bag and Turkey Distribution
  • Where:  Various churches and community organizations
  • What we did:  Distribute around 500+ Turkeys and Blue Bags
  • FFF Volunteers:   Thanks to all of the volunteers
  • For an example of what we did, see the following article:   San Miguel

November 25, 2020

  • What:  Pacific Garden Mission Thanksgiving Dinner.
  • Where:  Pacific Garden Mission, 1458 S. Canal Street, Chicago, IL
  • What we did:  Delivered 500 boxed meals to the Mission
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had two sets of 10 volunteers each working over the course 2 days.   
  • Read what we did!   Pacific Garden Mission Serving Event – 11/24 & 11/25/2020

November 26,  2020

  • What: Together We’re Elgin Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Elgin, IL     EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO PANDEMIC.   🙁
  • Where:  
  • What we will do:  
  • FFF Volunteers:  
  • How to Volunteer:  
  • Volunteer shifts: 
  • Read what we did last year:  Event Recap: 11/28/2019 Elgin Community Thanksgiving Dinner

November 26, 2020

  • What: H.E.L.P.S. Thanksgiving Dinner, St. Charles, IL
  • Where: HELPS Ministry 6N571 Tuscola Avenue in St. Charles, IL.
  • What we did:   We served a COVID-style “Sit down meal” to  approximately 100 guests
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 16 volunteers.
  • Time 11:30-4:30: Shift 1 (11:30am-2:30pm) Shift 2 (2pm-4:30pm)
  • Read what we did!:   Thanksgiving Serving Event at H.E.L.P.S Ministry

November 26, 2020 

  • What: Ewing Annex Hotel Luncheon, Chicago, IL
  • Where: Annex Hotel, 430 South Clark, Chicago Loop.
  • What we did:   Served 100 boxed meals 
  • FFF Volunteers:  2 volunteers
  • Time:  10:30am – 12pm
  • Read up on what we did:   Event Recap: Thanksgiving at the Ewing Annex Hotel

November 26, 2020

December 12, 2020

  • What: San Miguel Christmas Blue Bag distribution, Chicago, IL
  • Where: San Miguel Christmas event at St. Michael the Archangel Parish Social Center, 1954 W 48th Street, Chicago, IL.
  • What we did:   Assembled and distributed 120 Blue Bags to the San Miguel community
  • FFF Volunteers:   Thanks to the Chicago Rugby Club, who volunteered at this event. 
  • Time:  10am-12pm
  • For a recap on what we did, see Event Recap: San Miguel Holiday Blue Bag

December 19,  2020

  • What: Ewing Annex Hotel Luncheon, Chicago, IL
  • Where: Annex Hotel, 430 South Clark, Chicago Loop.
  • What we did:   Safely distributed 120 box meals
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had two volunteers.
  • Time:  9:30am – 11:30am
  • Read our article from this event at Ewing Annex Hotel – December 19, 2020

December 19, 2020

December 19, 2020

  • What: Community Christmas “grab and go” event with Music Box Foundation
  • Where: 6843 S. Harper, Chicago, IL
  • What we did: Packaged 200 meals to distribute via drive-thru / walk-up
  • FFF Volunteers:  We had 14 volunteers. 
  • Time:  10:30-4pm    Shift 1: (10:30am-3pm), Shift 2: (12:45-4pm)
  • For a recap on this event, see Music Box Foundation Event – December 19, 2020

December 19, 2020

  • What: House of Restoration, Christmas Blue Bag distribution
  • Where: First Methodist Church  216 E. Highland Ave. Elgin
  • What we did:   Distributed 100 Blue Bags with frozen turkeys
  • FFF Volunteers:    No volunteers 
  • For an example of the type of event we hold with House of Restoration, see the article on our 2018 serving event.

December 22, 2020 

  • What: Elgin Community Christmas Serving Event
  • Where:  Various sites in Elgin
  • What we did:  Supported our strategic partner, Together We’re Elgin, with donations of food
  • Volunteers:  5 Food For Friends volunteers
  • Read what we did:   Annual Elgin Christmas Community Dinner

December 19, 2020 House Of Restoration Holiday Event

The following email came from Lucy Gomez, Co-founder – House of Restoration. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2020-12-19 House of Restoration 

Food For Friends partnered with House of Restoration for a Christmas Blue Bag Holiday Distribution on Saturday December 19, 2020.

Volunteers organize the 100 Blue Bags and frozen turkeys for the Holiday event at the House of Restoration

Food For Friends provided 100 frozen turkeys and the Blue Bags to the House of Restoration team, which then filled those blue bags with additional food items so the family can make a full holiday meal at home.

More about the event below, but first a little background on us and what we do. House of Restoration, founded in 2001, serves Elgin and the surrounding communities as an important resource to individuals and families experiencing hardship and loss. This includes the homeless community, which we have served by running an emergency winter shelter in the city of Elgin every year.

As the pandemic hit in early 2020, the House of Restoration Community Outreach team began planning in order to meet the high demand that we knew was going to come in from families in need. Throughout 2020, we worked with our strategic partners to secure food, load that food into our 53 ft. trailer, and distribute the food to surrounding communities. We estimate we fed over 10,000 families in 2020. In addition, we worked with community leaders as a resource, helping them provide additional food for for the needy in their community.

Back to our December 19, 2020 holiday serving event. We operated this event as a pickup event with a focus on providing a safe environment both for our volunteers and for those we were serving.

As guests arrived, they were provided a Food For Friends Blue Bag, which was filled with food items donated by House of Restoration. Each family also received a frozen turkey, which was donated by Food For Friends. Families with children also received some gifts for their children, provided through generous donations by our partners

Our volunteers remarked that while everyone was wearing masks, they were were able to see the smiles on their faces

House of Restoration wishes to thank Food For Friends, which always comes through to help make this event successful.

Be bless and a happy new years.

Lucy Gomez, Co-founder – House of Restoration

December 27, 2020 – Gifts of Food To Seniors in Englewood

The following email came from the Linda Murphy, who was the lead volunteer for this event. Food For Friends would like to thank Linda Murphy along with her family and friends who selfishly gave up their time to deliver these gifts of food. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2020-12-25 Englewood Senior Homes 

On December 27, 2020, a group of Food For Friends came together and delivered 70 turkeys and Blue Bags full of food to two senior homes in the Englewood community within Chicago. Greencastle of Englewood and Orchard Place. both located at 6344 S Peoria Street.

These two senior homes had both been scheduled to receive food from another charitable organization around Christmas, but that delivery was cancelled. That is when the call came to Food For Friends for assistance. This was a case of our partners and volunteers staying connected to organizations that are in need and then reaching out to us to see if we could find a way to help.

Our group of Food For Friends volunteers did not hesitate when the call came in. It took a few SUVs filled to the top with all the turkeys and Food For Friends Blue Bags, but our volunteers made the trip on Christmas Day. In all, this group of volunteers delivered 70 turkeys along with Blue Bags of food.

Our gifts of food were loaded into shopping carts at each location and then the carts were pushed them safely into their main social rooms. From there the the staff of each of the senior homes delivered the shopping carts directly to the rooms of the seniors.

With our mission for the day complete, our group of volunteers when home with warm hearts, knowing they had helped others experience the joy of Christmas.

Linda Murphy, Volunteer – Food For Friends

A Christmas Eve Delivery to The Maryville Academy

The following email came from the Linda Murphy, who was the lead volunteer for this event. Food For Friends would like to thank Linda Murphy along with her family and friends who selfishly gave up their time to deliver these gifts of food. For more pictures from this event, go to our album on Facebook titled 2020-12-24 Maryville Academy 

On Christmas Eve morning, December 24, 2020, a group of Food For Friends volunteers delivered 33 turkeys and Blue Bags to the school at the Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. The food was then distributed to families in need.

Food For Friends volunteers pose for a picture after delivering turkeys and Blue Bags to the school at the Maryville Academy on Christmas Eve morning.

Maryville (https://www.maryvilleacademy.org/) is a child care organization based in Des Plaines, IL that was founded in 1883. The organization is dedicated to the preservation of the dignity of children at every age. Maryville’s mission is to help children and families to reach their fullest potential by empowering intellectual, spiritual, moral and emotional growth.

Maryville’s range of programs includes residential care, mental health services, healthcare and family support services, as well as a variety of educational and youth development offerings. More than 4,000 children’s lives are made better, safer and more joyful every year because Maryville exists

Many families from the school are supported by charitable events that have been cancelled or closed due to the pandemic. Our gift of turkeys and Blue Bags were distributed to families in need just in time to provide a special Christmas meal to those who would not have otherwise been able to afford it.

Linda Murphy, Volunteer – Food For Friends

Connect and Give Hope