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posted: 4/23/2013 2:17 PM

Love Elgin Day offers help, services to those in need

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  • Volunteer Jeff Bratko of East Dundee gets a bike chain running smoothly in the courtyard of Vineyard Church at the Love Elgin Day event last September. It 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 last September. It 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, 2012

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

       Volunteers in yellow shirts help people gather free groceries in the basement of the First United Methodist Church on Love Elgin Day last September.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer, 2012

 
By Cheryl Chojnacki
Love Elgin Day submission

Love Elgin Day, a multidenominational church outreach that served nearly 3,000 people last fall, returns to the Elgin community on Saturday, April 27.

Under-resourced families and people who reside in Elgin are invited to come for free food and personal hygiene items, gently used clothing and shoes, medical and dental screenings, pregnancy ultrasounds, professional legal counsel, haircuts, manicures, massages, bicycle repair and other services.

Everything is free. Resource information from a variety of community organizations will be available, and lunch is served to all. Guests also have the opportunity to hear a message about the love of God and receive prayer for their individual situations.

This will be the third time for the biannual event, held at five neighboring churches in downtown Elgin. While only five churches are visibly involved, there are actually more than 40 congregations from a wide variety of denominations -- traditional, evangelical and charismatic -- setting aside their doctrinal differences to make Love Elgin Day happen.

"When I came away from the first Love Elgin Day last spring, I was struck by the beauty of Christian unity that was displayed," said Pastor Tom Severson of Vineyard Church of Elgin. "I think ministry to the poor may be the easiest banner under which we walk out our Christian unity."

Attendees begin with registration in front of Vineyard Church, 220 Division St., and continue on to Iglesia Carismática Puerta de Sion, Family Life Church, First Congregational Church and First United Methodist Church. All are within walking distance of each other, and Love Elgin Day volunteers will be available to help guests carry food and clothing to their cars.

The 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. event will take on a festive atmosphere, with music, clowns and face painting. Division Street will be closed to traffic between Center and Spring streets.

The churches are supported in the Love Elgin Day outreach by local government, social service agencies and businesses. Among participating organizations are Administer Justice, Centro de Información, Kane County Health Department, the Elgin police and fire departments, and others.

Pastor Jeorge Holmes, an Elgin native, is the lead coordinator and founder of the event.

"These are difficult times," Holmes said. "People need a helping hand. The government can help, but that's not the solution. As followers of Jesus Christ, we consider it the responsibility of the churches to step up and do what we can to meet people's needs with the love of Christ in our hearts.

"Our vision is to see the churches unite, work together, blast the walls of division and be about the kingdom of God, which is bigger than any denomination," Holmes said.

Love Elgin Day is held on the last Saturday of April and last Saturday of September every year.

Weather permitting, some events will be set up outdoors, but rain or shine, the event will take place as scheduled. All distributions will be made on a first-come, first-served basis.

For details, visit www.loveelginday.org.

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