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

Love Elgin Day connects people to services

By Larissa Chinwah

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.

"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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