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Article updated: 9/30/2012 8:03 AM

Love Elgin Day connects people to services

Volunteers in yellow shirts help people gather free groceries in the basement of the First United Methodist Church on Love Elgin Day on Saturday, September 29.

Volunteers in yellow shirts help people gather free groceries in the basement of the First United Methodist Church on Love Elgin Day on Saturday, September 29.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Jeff Baron of Elgin adjusts the rear brake of a bike while volunteering at the bike repair station for the Love Elgin Day on Saturday, September 29. The event was hosted by five neighborhood churches including First United Methodist Church, Vineyard Church of Elgin, Iglesia Carismatica Puerta de Sion, First Congregational Church and Family Life Church. This was the second year Baron, who is a member of the Vineyard Church of Elgin, has helped at the event. He enjoys working on bikes, and was formerly a BMX biker.

Jeff Baron of Elgin adjusts the rear brake of a bike while volunteering at the bike repair station for the Love Elgin Day on Saturday, September 29. The event was hosted by five neighborhood churches including First United Methodist Church, Vineyard Church of Elgin, Iglesia Carismatica Puerta de Sion, First Congregational Church and Family Life Church. This was the second year Baron, who is a member of the Vineyard Church of Elgin, has helped at the event. He enjoys working on bikes, and was formerly a BMX biker.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Love Elgin Day volunteers Luis Dosdedos of Elgin and Janet Tarihi of Bartlett help direct people to various sites while standing in front of First United Methodist Church at the corner of Highland and Center streets in downtown Elgin on Saturday, September 29. Five local churches hosted the event including First United Methodist Church, Vineyard Church of Elgin, Iglesia Carismatica Puerta de Sion, First Congregational Church and Family Life Church. It is the second year for the event.

Love Elgin Day volunteers Luis Dosdedos of Elgin and Janet Tarihi of Bartlett help direct people to various sites while standing in front of First United Methodist Church at the corner of Highland and Center streets in downtown Elgin on Saturday, September 29. Five local churches hosted the event including First United Methodist Church, Vineyard Church of Elgin, Iglesia Carismatica Puerta de Sion, First Congregational Church and Family Life Church. It is the second year for the event.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Volunteer Jeff Bratko of East Dundee gets a bike chain running smoothly in the courtyard of Vineyard Church at the Love Elgin Day event on Saturday, September 29. This was the second year bike enthusiast Bratko, who is a member of the Vineyard Church of Elgin, has helped at the event.

Volunteer Jeff Bratko of East Dundee gets a bike chain running smoothly in the courtyard of Vineyard Church at the Love Elgin Day event on Saturday, September 29. This was the second year bike enthusiast Bratko, who is a member of the Vineyard Church of Elgin, has helped at the event.

 

Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Kevin Chaney wanted his five young children to know about all of the good in the world.

The Elgin father and his children were among the thousands of people who sought services from free food to prayers during the second Love Elgin Day Saturday at a handful of churches in the city's downtown.

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"It's important for my kids to know about God and about how good people are," Chaney said. "I want them to get involved in activities and other things after school ... It has been pretty good. People seem nice and friendly."

Brad Weiss, a coordinator for Love Elgin Day and the administrative pastor at Vineyard Church, said more than 3,000 people were expected to receive services Saturday. That's almost double the number of attendees the first event drew in April.

"There's no denomination," Weiss said. "We are here to serve people today and that's what it is all about."

At First United Methodist Church, families collected groceries and ate lunch. Clothing for families was also available in the church's basement. Around the corner at Vineyard Church, participants received prayers and Bible resources. Down the street, free medical services like blood-sugar screenings, blood-pressure readings and vision tests were available at Iglesia Carismatica Puerta de Sion. Massages, manicures and counseling services were offered at Family Life Church.

"Even with all of the problems in the world -- people are out of work and losing their homes -- there's still a lot of people who care," said Jeff Small, food coordinator at the First United Methodist Church.

Carpentersville resident Ameka Dungey, who was visiting the event with her two daughters, said the day provides much-needed services for families that are struggling.

"It's the end of the month and if you don't have any income, having more food helps," Dungey said. "You can extend it until the time you do have money."

The one-stop shop for resources is also convenient for individuals and families that don't have means of transportation.

"Having it all in one place really helps," Dungey said.

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